CNIB Pressures Canadian Government on WIPO Treaty for Reading Disabled

The World Intellectual Property Organization's Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights meets next week in Geneva where a hot topic may be a proposal from the World Blind Union for the creation of a new WIPO Treaty for Improved Access for Blind, Visually Impaired and other Reading Disabled Persons.  The treaty proposal builds on WIPO's commitment to examine limitations and exceptions by addressing an obvious need for reform.  Full details on the treaty proposal can be found here.

The CNIB has written a letter to Canadian officials expressing its strong support for the treaty.  It notes that an estimated ten percent of the Canadian population is prevented from reading standard print to due to a visual, perceptual or physical disability.  While Canada has a copyright exception that addresses some of these concerns, the CNIB notes that a treaty would dramatically increase the number of works available in alternative formats to Canadians.  The group is urging the Canadian delegation to support the treaty, though some sources say that Canada is resisting formal support by emphasizing voluntary measures (the same voluntary measures that have left Canadians with access to only five percent of published information in alternative formats).  Rather than remaining silent in Geneva, Canada should be a leader on this issue by signaling its support for the treaty and urging other countries to do the same.


  1. In no respect is only “5%” or “published” material accessible to blind people. CNIB, a much-despised monopoly, pretends that online and other computer-readable documents just do not exist, or do not count. Print isn’t the only way to “publish” anymore.

  2. Jennifer Jilks says:

    web accessibility for visually impaired
    Technology advances have greatly enabled the disabled. We are incredibly slow to adapt, however. Unfortunately many web designers do not make web pages accessible. There are many guidelines, but identifying images, to better enable voice readers to interpret what is on the page, is only one strategy. There are other guidelines that web designers ought to follow.

  3. Do any of you htink that perhaps extending our hand globally might help?

    Lots of interest from UK , and as it catches on would be easier to make these uber greedy people heat for taking our rights away.

    It is a new world war people. We are fighting mussilini style facists that are trying to merge corporate power with state power. That is dangerous for democracy. My grand father fought this type of evil. We must all fight it or we are not going to make it on earth.

  4. Bob Martinengo says:

    Sorry for the late post!
    The copyright exception put in place in the US in 1996 has not solved this problem, and it never will. All the evidence points towards greater collaboration with, and incentives for, publishers. A copyright exception does the opposite, in that it cuts publishers out of the picture all together, which is ironic considering its the publishers work that is at issue.

    Please take a look at some material I posted on this subject – I think you will find it interesting:

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