World Blind Union position on the latest WIPO treaty text (SCCR25/2/Rev E)

WBU urges WIPO member state negotiators to agree a treaty which is effective for those it is meant to serve: blind, partially sighted and print disabled people. To achieve that aim, we highlight below WBU’s position on four key areas of the text. We ask you to work with these in mind during April’s negotiations.

Remove clauses in Articles D and E requiring checks for “commercial availability” as a prerequisite for using the treaty

The text must avoid requirements for authorised entities to check “commercial availability” across borders, (in Articles D and E), or to carry out other unworkable “due diligence” procedures. Such checks will paralyse the use of the treaty. WBU concedes the need for wording in Article C to allow countries whose laws have them to keep national “commercial availability” clauses in their print disability exceptions).

1.  The treaty must allow print disabled individuals-not just authorised entities- to import accessible works directly from another country

For the treaty to be effective, it must provide for a print disabled person to connect directly to an authorised entity in another country to obtain an accessible work. This should be explicitly allowed by the treaty in order to ensure print disabled people can access the greatest possible number of accessible books. This can be achieved simply by removing the square brackets around the clause in D2B which currently reads

B) Authorized entities shall be permitted, pursuant to Article A, to distribute or make available accessible format copies to a beneficiary person in another Member State/Contracting Party without the authorization of the rightholder.”

This provision should not be subject to caveats about the existence of authorized entities in the country where the beneficiary lives, or on commercial availability of works.

2.  The treaty must state that technological protection measures (TPMs) cannot prevent lawful access to / use of works under the treaty provisions

Without such a provision, WBU fears that lawful and important use of the treaty provisions could be prevented simply by adding TPM to a digital work. WBU supports the wording on Article F Alternative A1 to achieve this objective. It reads:

“Alternative A

1. Member States/Contracting Party should/shall ensure that beneficiaries of the exception provided by Article C are not prevented from enjoying the exception in the exception where technological protection measures have been applied to a work.”

3.  No to Article J

There are many voluntary measures which could complement the treaty. However, we want a simple and effective treaty, and feel there is no need to describe such measures in an already lengthy treaty text. We remind negotiators that the treaty already sets out clearly the criteria an authorised entity must meet to use the treaty. We do not want membership of a database / access point to become a second hurdle that entities must overcome before being allowed to use the treaty.

For more information, please contact:

Dan Pescod. tel: +447787 938 788