Post Tagged with: "treaty for the blind"

Braille by Roland DG Mid Europe Italia (CC BY 2.0)

Canadian Copyright Bill for the Blind in Need of Fine Tuning

As the political world was focused on the Liberal government’s inaugural budget last month, Navdeep Bains, the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, introduced his first bill as minister by quietly moving ahead with plans to reform Canadian copyright law to allow for the ratification of an international treaty devoted to increasing access to copyrighted works for the blind.

The World Intellectual Property Organization’s Marrakesh Treaty expands access for the blind by facilitating the creation and export of works in accessible formats to the more than 300 million blind and visually impaired people around the world. Moreover, the treaty restricts the use of digital locks that can impede access, by permitting the removal of technological restrictions on electronic books for the benefit of the blind and visually impaired.

My weekly technology law column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) notes that the Canadian decision to ratify the Marrakesh Treaty is long overdue. The Conservatives announced plans to do so in last year’s budget but waited to table legislation days before the summer break and the election call. With that bill now dead, the Liberals have rightly moved quickly to revive the issue.

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April 19, 2016 2 comments Columns
Treaty for the Blind T-Shirts by Timothy Vollmer (CC BY 2.0)

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

WIPO Treaty for the Blind Gains Momentum, But Canada Missing in Action

The World Intellectual Property Organization is meeting this week with considerable momentum toward work on a Treaty for the Blind that would establish important copyright limitations and exceptions to ensure broader access for the sight disabled.  While the U.S. had emerged as a leader with a surprising shift in approach, […]

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December 18, 2009 2 comments News

U.S. at WIPO: Committed To Better Copyright Exceptions

The U.S. delegation to the World Intellectual Property Organization has just delivered a noteworthy statement on its commitment to addressing copyright exceptions for persons with print disabilities.  The statement includes: the United States believes that the time has come for WIPO Members to work toward some form of international consensus […]

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December 15, 2009 3 comments News

Canada’s Position on a WIPO Treaty for the Blind

Russell McOrmond examines the evidence on whether Canada is trying to block a WIPO Treaty for the Blind. His review includes an MP3 of a talk at WIPO by Doug George, DFAIT's director on IP and Canads's lead ACTA negotiator.

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July 20, 2009 Comments are Disabled News