Friday, May 29, 2009

BoingBoing Call to Action re WIPO Treaty for the Blind

Cory Doctorow - Canadian expat author and BoingBoing founder extraordinaire says:
I don't often ask readers to do things like this, but please, forward this post to people you know in the US, Canada and the EU, and ask them to reblog, tweet, and spread the word, especially to government officials and activists who work on disabled rights. We know that WIPO negotiations can be overwhelmed by citizen activists -- that's how we killed the Broadcast Treaty negotiation a few years back -- and with your help, we can make history, and create a world where copyright law protects the public interest.
Here's his posting, provocatively entitlted "USA, Canada and the EU attempt to kill treaty to protect blind people's access to written material".

I don't know yet what Canada has actually said - it may be more nuanced than what is being reported. The issue appears to be whether there will be movement directly towards negotiations for a treaty or will there be endless discussions with no treaty in direct contemplation. Nothing focuses the mind like the prospect of a diplomatic conference - even if a long way off. That, of course, is something that only the General Assembly can decide. Neither the SCCR nor the Secretariat can make that call - but they can be very influential if they so wish. Admittedly, the tabling by Brazil et al of a draft treaty proposal from the World Blind Union at the last moment this week was unlikely to create an immediate consensus.

The WIPO Secretariat's work with "Stakeholders" on rights for the visually impaired can be reviewed in this detailed document.


1 comment:

  1. Howard, the topic of a treaty to deal with cross border movement of works accessible to blind and other persons with reading disabilities has been discussed at WIPO for a long time, the WBU treaty text was distributed last fall at WIPO, and Canada was lobbied on this issue for months, by its own reading disabilities community. Group B, which includes Canada, is trying to block an agreement to discuss what is now a country proposal for a treaty at the next SCCR. Canada could support such a discussion at the SCCR's next meeting. But that would require some words to be uttered in public that would set out a position different from that of Group B. We can't rely on mind readers here.