American Ass. of Publishers trying to sabotage copyright treaty for blind and disabled people

The Electronic Frontier Foundation's Carolina Rossini is at the World Intellectual Property Organization in Geneva, where American-led copyright industry trade groups are prepared, once again, to sabotage a treaty guaranteeing access to blind people and people with other disabilities. At the forefront of stopping blind people from having access to reading is the Association of American Publishers. What a ghastly grotesquery.

The blind should not be treated like second-tier citizens and considered as an afterthought. The protection of liberties online includes making sure that all people, regardless of ability, can participate in the digital world. As technology advances and more books move from hard-copy print to electronic formats, people with print disabilities deserve the opportunity to enjoy access to books on an equal basis with others. For this reason, EFF has supported a binding international instrument, a treaty, on this matter since the beginning of such discussions at WIPO.

In one of the corridor conversations at WIPO, the publishers’ lobbyists have said they do not want to give a “trophy” treaty for those that fight for access to knowledge. The concept that a treaty that would significantly help the blind participate in the literary world would be considered a “trophy” is offensive on the merits. The entertainment and publishing industry has already gotten many such trophy-treaties themselves: They got the WIPO Internet treaties, they got the Performers Treaty, and a couple of decades ago they got TRIPS. It’s time for them to stop kidding themselves and for us to square the deal and get some balance in copyright.

Let’s Close the Deal on a Treaty for the Blind and Print Disabled

(Image: BOOKS ABOUT BOOKS, a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike (2.0) image from jm3's photostream)


  1. Yea, you give those blind folks one inch and you’ll open wide the floodgates of Chinese piracy.  In fact, I wonder if there’s a reason a pirate wears an eyepatch.  Just coincidence?

  2. I know a few people who are vision-impaired or blind, and they have to go above-and-beyond what normally-sighted people need to do, in order to get access to books they can use (audiobooks, large-print books or e-books). 
    I take it for granted that I don’t need to go so far just to get information or read a story. The fact that the publishers lobbyists consider this treaty a “trophy” is offensive and demeaning to blind and vision-impaired people.

  3.  Well *obviously* the blind people are just going to turn around and pirate these audio books on the internet.  After all the text/image based web is  a really friendly easy to use environment for Blind people.  Besides, god is apparently punishing them with blindness for something so we shouldn’t do anything to make life easier for them.

    1. They’d have issues doing that (I know you’re being sarcastic). But the machines they use for access aren’t set up to torrent. 


  4. Shall we just refer to these goons as “The Association of American Punishers”? ‘Cause they obviously feel it’s sinful to be blind or disabled…

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