Post Tagged with: "tvi"

Treaty for the Blind T-Shirts by Timothy Vollmer (CC BY 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/5SXhgK

Why Has Canada Still Not Signed the WIPO Copyright to Support the Blind?

Countries from around the world last year reached agreement on a landmark copyright treaty designed to improve access to works for the blind and visually impaired. As the first copyright treaty focused on the needs of users, the success was quickly billed the “Miracle in Marrakesh” (the location for the final round of negotiations) with more than 50 countries immediately signing the treaty.

The pact, which was concluded on June 27, 2013, established a one-year timeline for initial signatures, stating that it was “open for signature at the Diplomatic Conference in Marrakesh, and thereafter at the headquarters of WIPO [the World Intellectual Property Organization] by any eligible party for one year after its adoption.”

My weekly technology law column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) notes that in the months since the diplomatic conference, 67 countries have signed it. The list of signatories includes most of Canada’s closest allies, including the United States, European Union, United Kingdom, and France. The major developing economies such as Brazil, China, and India have also signed the agreement. Curiously absent from the list of signatories, however, is Canada.

The issue was raised in the House of Commons by NDP MP Peggy Nash, leading to the following exchange with Industry Minister James Moore:

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June 18, 2014 11 comments Columns

The “Miracle in Marrakesh” Provides a New Path for Digital Access

Negotiators from around the world gathered in Marrekesh, Morocco late last month for a diplomatic conference aimed at concluding a new United Nations treaty to improve access to copyrighted works for people who are blind or have other perceptual disabilities. Despite years of discussions, there was ample reason for pessimism.

My weekly technology law column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) notes the treaty talks had become bogged down in the months leading up to the conference, with large lobby groups such as the Motion Picture Association working feverishly behind the scenes to undermine it through changes to rules on digital locks and fair use.

As the deadline approached however, the majority of the world lined up behind user rights for the blind. With Canada playing an important facilitative role, the negotiators were ultimately able to craft compromise language that resulted in a new landmark treaty. More than 50 countries immediately signed on, suggesting that the treaty is well on its way to establishing new rights for the blind (20 countries must ratify it before the treaty formally takes effect).

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July 17, 2013 Comments are Disabled Columns

The “Miracle in Marrakesh” Provides a New Path for Digital Access

Appeared in the Toronto Star on July 13, 2013 as The “Miracle in Marrakesh” Provides a New Path for Digital Access Negotiators from around the world gathered in Marrekesh, Morocco late last month for a diplomatic conference aimed at concluding a new United Nations treaty to improve access to copyrighted […]

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July 17, 2013 Comments are Disabled Columns Archive

“The Miracle in Marrakesh”: Agreement Reached on a Treaty for the Visually Impaired

After years of discussions and repeated efforts to thwart or water down a treaty for the visually impaired, delegates in Morocco reached agreement late Tuesday on a treaty. A draft of the text is available here.

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June 27, 2013 Comments are Disabled Must Reads

The Motion Picture Association’s Fight Against a Treaty to Support the Visually Impaired

Earlier this month, I wrote about a diplomatic conference in Morocco designed to finalize a much-needed copyright treaty for the visually impaired. The column noted that the treaty seeks to do two things: first, it establishes minimum standards for copyright limitations and exceptions for the visually impaired. Second, the treaty would facilitate the export of accessible works.

The conference is now in its second week with growing fears that there will be no deal. The major hold-out appears to be the United States, which is blocking consensus on a range of issues. According to documents released over the weekend, the primary source of the U.S. opposition comes from the motion picture association, which has engaged in months of behind-the-scenes lobbying designed to dismantle the treaty.  For example, the MPA is trying to block the inclusion of a fair use/fair dealing provision, despite the fact that many countries (led by the U.S.) already have such a rule.

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June 24, 2013 4 comments News