DAA News Network

Europe: EU urged to support treaty for access to books for blind people

Posted 01/6-10 at 13.33

In January 2010, we reported that progress had been made on an agreement, proposed by the World Blind Union, that would give blind and partially-sighted people greater access to books and other copyright material. In June, the World Intellectual Property

Organisation (WIPO) will meet in Geneva and be asked finally to adopt this treaty. However, as of May 4th, the European Union had not indicated that it would sign. This failure to back the treaty was the main topic at a recent hearing organized by the European Blind Union and Transatlantic Consumer Dialogue. At the gathering number of MEPs were critical of the EU's position and urged support for the treaty.

It was pointed out that such an agreement was vital for the world's 300 million people with sight impairments. Adam Kosa, who chairs parliament's disability intergroup, said that in northern Europe fewer than 5 per cent of books published are available for reading by disabled people like himself, while the number in southern Europe is less than 1 per cent.




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