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USA, Canada and the EU attempt to kill treaty to protect blind people's access to written material

This will also affect Deaf people, and people with other reading-related difficulties.

At issue is a treaty to protect the rights of blind people and people with other disabilities that affect reading (people with dyslexia, people who are paralyzed or lack arms or hands for turning pages), introduced by Brazil, Ecuador and Paraguay. This should be a slam dunk: who wouldn't want a harmonized system of copyright exceptions that ensure that it's possible for disabled people to get access to the written word?

The USA, that's who. The Obama administration's negotiators have joined with a rogue's gallery of rich country trade representatives to oppose protection for blind people. Other nations and regions opposing the rights of blind people include Canada and the EU.

Also opposing rights for disabled people: Australia, New Zealand, the Vatican and Norway.

[More details at BoingBoing

The proposal for a treaty is supported by a large number of civil society NGOs, the World Blind Union, the National Federation of the Blind in the US, the International DAISY Consortium, Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic (RFB&D), Bookshare.Org, and groups representing persons with reading disabilities all around the world.

The main aim of the treaty is to allow the cross-border import and export of digital copies of books and other copyrighted works in formats that are accessible to persons who are blind, visually impaired, dyslexic or have other reading disabilities, using special devices that present text as refreshable braille, computer generated text to speech, or large type. These works, which are expensive to make, are typically created under national exceptions to copyright law that are specifically written to benefit persons with disabilities.

The number of accessible works is very small everywhere, relative to what "sighted" persons can read. However, in developing countries, the collections are super small, and even in the USA, access to works in languages other than English is practically non-existent.

Under the current international legal regime, there is almost no sharing of these works across borders. The treaty would change that, vastly expanding the availability of works to all persons who are blind or have other reading disabilities.

Read more at the Huffington Post

Spread the world. Contact your elected representatives, cross post it, twitter it, put it on Facebook. They don't want us to do this. Let's make it impossible for them to ignore the needs and demands of people with disabilities, even if your country supports this treat.

TwitterFeed: #sccr18

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