A treaty for visually impaired persons is long overdue but the US has still not agreed on the "nature" of the text!
Like many readers, I am now an official fan of Zach Carter. Mr. Carter just wrote a timely and intelligent article regarding the SCCR24 and the treaty for the blind and visually impaired persons:"Obama Administration Blocks International Treaty To Benefit The Blind"
The Blind people want a treaty:
"We absolutely support a treaty," said Melanie Brunson, executive director of the American Council of the Blind, in an interview from Geneva with Knowledge Ecology International, another nonprofit group devoted to greater global access to information. "We believe that that's really the only way to ensure that countries will know it's important, and it's not just something they can sort of do, or do voluntarily, or do parts of."
The Publishers for blind and visually impaired people want a treaty:
"The treaty is essential to allow us to expand and serve the world," said Jim Fruchterman, founder of Bookshare, an online nonprofit American library with over 150,000 titles for the blind. Bookshare titles are available for free to U.S. schools and U.S. students, but not to citizens of developing nations. "In a lot of the developing world, the entire library might be 20 or 30 books," said Fruchterman.
The treaty would expand access to reading materials for the blind by establishing a specific exemption to traditional copyright standards for alternative publishing formats that benefit the blind and people with visual impairments. American publishers are generally supportive of the provision."
But the other publishers, no, not really:
"But publishers are concerned that finalizing an official treaty, instead of a nonbinding slate of policy recommendations, will establish a new intellectual property precedent that could cut into profits in other areas."
"We really don't want to establish a precedent on a series of treaties that specifically focus on trying to set forth minimal limitations and exceptions to the rights of copyright owners," Adler told KEI in Geneva. "Up until now ... the treaties and other international agreements that have been devised ... have been to establish the minimal rights available to copyright owners, not the limitations and exceptions to those rights."
We had high hopes not so long ago but in fact the Obama administration has yet never agreed that the nature of the instrument should be a treaty:
"In April, Obama met with Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff to discuss a host of international trade issues, and issued a joint statement supporting an "effective" international deal to support the blind, but did not specify whether an effective deal would be a formal treaty or a more informal agreement.
"The Presidents reaffirmed the commitment of both countries to the conclusion of an effective international instrument in the World Intellectual Property Organization that ensures that copyright is not a barrier to equal access to information, culture, and education for visually impaired persons and persons with print disabilities," the statement read."
Of course, we hope that by Wednesday July 25, 2012, there will finally be an agreement to recommend a diplomatic conference to negotiate a treaty at the 2012 WIPO General Assembly.