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Views on the outcome of WIPO SCCR 18: Brazil, Ecuador and Paraguay Treaty for Reading Disabilities

On Friday, May 29, the 18th Session of the WIPO Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) agreed to consider a proposal submitted by the governments of Brazil, Ecuador and Paraguay Relating to Limitations and Exceptions on a Treaty for Reading Disabled Persons at its next meeting in November 2009 (19th Session). KEI has collated views on the outcome of the 18th SCCR from the following countries and NGOs.

Views on the outcome of WIPO SCCR 18: Brazil, Ecuador and Paraguay Treaty for Reading Disabled Persons


Zotero is an open source citation and bibliography manager. The project has been managed by George Mason University’s Center for History and New Media (CHNM), and supported by the Andrew Melon Foundation and other donors. There are several alternative citation managers, including the popular but pricey commercial product Endnote, owned by Thomson Reuters, the publishing giant that was created in 2008 by a merger of Thomson and Reuters.* The Zotero product has been around for a few years, steadily adding features, improving performance, and attracting users.

President Obama picks David Kappos as USPTO Director, first open source fan to run USPTO

Our impressions about this appointment are positive, but we would like to hear from others. IBM has been very smart on IPR issues lately, recognizing that knowledge is often more valuable when shared. Coming from a successful technology firm, he will have both credibility and insight into innovation policy. He brings more balance to the job than anyone we can remember. Below are some interesting quotes from various articles.

TACD issues resolution on IPR enforcement

On June 18, 2009, The Transatlantic Consumer Dialogue (TACD) issued a 2,000 word resolution on the enforcement of copyright, trademarks, patents and other intellectual property rights. The resolution is on the TACD web page here. A press release from the TACD IP-Working Group, with comments from several TACD members, is available on the web here.

Damages, Injunctions and Transparency key issues in ACTA negotiations

The decision to restart the ACTA negotiations makes it important to understand the nature and consequence of proposed agreement. Following a complaint about transparency, this note focuses on damages and injunctions.

Amazon's Soundproof Kindle books

In a 2002 article on "The Soundproof Book," George Kerscher and Jim Fruchterman explored the exclusionary impact of books with text-to-speech disabled.*  In 2008, Amazon began to disable text-to-speech in thousands of Kindle editions of ebooks.  Below are examples of the new Amazon soundproof books.

[*George Kerscher and Jim Fruchterman, "The Soundproof Book: Exploration of Rights Conflict and Access to Commercial EBooks for People with Disabilities," First Monday, Volume. 7, Number 6 - 3 June 2002.]

Amazon and Bertelsmann turn off text to speech even in Kindle books that have zero price

At least four imprints of Random House (Ballantine, Dell, Del Rey and Spectra) have turned off text to speech in Kindle books that they give away at a zero price. Random House is owned by Bertelsmann AG, the German publishing giant. What is the rationale for soundproofing* these books?
Here are some examples of DRM’d soundproof books that are free to Kindle users who do not have visual impairments.

Amazon turns off text to speech in more Kindle 2 ebooks

A google search using the term: “Text-to-Speech: Not enabled” today gives 13,500 hits. On May 17, 2009, the same search gave 343 hits.

The 1982 WIPO and UNESCO Working Group on Exceptions for Access to Protected Works for Visually and Auditory Handicapped Person

Group B Countries, including the United States, 17 members of the European Union, Canada, Switzerland, the Holy See, and others, argued last week that consideration of *any* instrument to set norms for access to works by persons who are blind or have reading disabilities was “premature.” Others suggest action is “overdue.” In fact, the debate is quite old.

Final conclusions of WIPO SCCR 18

These are the final conclusions of SCCR 18.

World Intellectual Property Organization
SCCR Eighteenth Session
Geneva, May 25 to 29, 2009

prepared by the Chair

Limitations and exceptions

Group B efforts to block discussion of treaty

Group B has offered amendments to a proposed conclusion for the WIPO SCCR 18 meeting. The amendments are designed to eliminate any agreement to discuss a treaty for blind and reading disabled persons at the next meeting of the SCCR. The United States, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Norway, the Holy See (the Vatican), the members of the European Union and other high income countries have joined in this statement. Later the EU offered an even blunter opposition to the treaty proposals. I have blogged about our disappointment in the Obama Administration on the Huffington Post here.

Draft conclusions on Protection of broadcasting organizations

And these are the draft conclusions on the casting treaty. And a date for the next SCCR which might be changed because it is the same date as a WTO meeting in Geneva.

Protection of broadcasting organizations

16. The committee expressed its appreciation for the information session on developments in broadcasting which focused on concerns of developing and least developed countries

Draft conclusions re Audiovisual Performances

These are the draft conclusions regarding the audiovisual performances. The delegates had very few comments, so what you see here is more or less what the final paper will look like.

Protection of audiovisual performances

11. The Committee expressed its appreciation for the seminars organized by the Se. and encouraged the Sec to continue that activity

12. The Committee reaffirmed its commitment to work on developing the international protection of performances in audiovisual media.

DRAFT conclusions by the Chair re Limitations and Exceptions at SCCR18

These are the draft conclusions distributed by the chair regarding item 5 of the agenda (i.e. limitations and exceptions). The paper was distributed before the lunch break (1-3pm). The delegates are consulting on it and will come back at 3pm. The final text will be modified of course but this is a good start.

SCCR 18 DRAFT CONCLUSIONS OF THE SSCR prepared by the chair
Limitations and exceptions

KEI Statement at SCCR 18, May 27, 2009

Congratulations on your record setting re-election as chairman of the SCCR, and for your excellent guidance this week.

With regard to the draft questionnaire, KEI suggests it be expanded to address exceptions found in Article 44 of the TRIPS, regarding alternatives to injunctions.

KEI supports the proposal by Brazil, Ecuador and Paraguay for a treaty for reading disabled persons, which is correctly inclusive in terms of disabilities covered.

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