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