Monday, June 08, 2009

Copyright treaty in Geneva Advances!

Lots of excitement recently in Geneva at the World Intellectual Property Organization. We've been supportive of an effort by the World Blind Union to get an international treaty in place that sets up a global system much like the one we have today in the United States. I was part of an expert panel that drafted the original proposed treaty.

Bookshare pretty much has been made possible by the Chafee Amendment, a copyright exception provision in U.S. law that made it legal for us to scan just a bout any book without needing to get permissions first. The goal of the treaty is to set a standard that all countries have such a provision, and that they interact with other countries.

Brazil, Ecuador and Paraguay joined together to propose that WIPO consider this treaty. During the meeting in Geneva, there was worrisome rhetoric coming from the advocacy community, like the Boing Boing post USA, Canada and the EU attempt to kill treaty to protect blind people's access to written material. My impression from additional tweets, emails, posts and articles is that the French are really leading the charge against a treaty. The U.S. seems to be mostly passively supporting killing the treaty but putting off discussion of it, rather than explicitly speaking against it.

In the end, the conclusion was more favorable. The treaty is still a live topic and will be discussed at the next WIPO meeting, which is a victory for the advocates. But, I'm sure there will be a lot of jockeying for that next round!

Copyright treaty backing e-books for disabled readers survives US and EU resistance | OUT-LAW.COM

WIPO Limitations & Exceptions Treaty Advances

1 comment:

Sarah Blake said...

Jim, thanks for this. For those of us who are getting in on this late and would like to backtrack a ibt and help to do some educating, could you provide some links to the treaty or related info? In discussions I've been having, I have run across some misunderstanding about what this treaty is for. I'd like t be able to back up my explanations with source material. (Your post is a good start, but it would be helpful to use additional material if possible.) Thanks.