Writers! Sign onto letter in support of copyright treaty to benefit blind and disabled people

Judit from Knowledge Ecology International sez,
The World Blind Union has been for years requesting a new international legal framework that will allow them to produce and share accessible formats of books and other written material.

The World Blind Union World Intellectual Property Organization treaty proposal, formally endorsed by Brazil, Ecuador and Paraguay is supported by nearly all developing countries and by disabilities and consumer organizations but the position that developed countries, like the European governments and United States, will take next week is still unclear.

The publishers are lobbying against the treaty but there are a lot of authors, writers and journalist that want their books and writing to be read by the millions of people who are blind and have other reading disabilities and that recognize the importance to support this treaty proposal.

We are therefore encouraging authors and writers that support the treaty proposal to sign this letter to WIPO and its Member States

Why is it urgent: Next week the treaty proposal is going to be discussed at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in Geneva. This is the website for the WIPO meeting.

I was proud and honored to be asked to sign onto this. KEI is looking for "writers, journalists and authors" -- anyone who produces commercial copyrighted written works to sign on. Please forward this onto writers' organizations, blogs, communities, as well as individual writers of your acquaintance.

Open Letter in Support of WIPO treaty for People who are Blind or have other Disabilities (Thanks, Judit!)


  1. I have Stargardt’s Macular Dystrophy and it’s very difficult to find a way to read. This would be amazing.

  2. How would such a treaty be enforced? If I was say, a small publisher, would I be not allowed to operate without jumping through International hoops?

    1. The idea behind the treaty is that the publishers need not jump through any hoops if they don’t want to. If you publish a work, and don’t have the means or ability to put it into accessible form, the treaty makes it legal for someone else to make your work accessible.

      It doesn’t give them free rein to punt it around willy-nilly, though, it’s only for the purposes of granting access to the visually impaired.

      Different countries might implement this in different ways, too–there’s an explicit idea that some countries could require people who make use of this copyright exception would pay a small licensing fee to the copyright owner if they make their own accessible versions. The idea is that even if you pay, you shouldn’t have to wait for permission to make an accessible work.

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