Volume 6 Issue 11 - November 15, 2009
"W.I.P.O. committed to the cause of visually impaired" : Dr. Francis Gurry
Dr. Francis Gurry, Director General, W.I.P.O.
Dr. Francis Gurry, Director General, World Intellectual Property Organisation (W.I.P.O.), was in New Delhi recently. Dorodi Sharma of D.N.I.S. India caught up with him on W.I.P.O.s stand on the Treaty for the Blind, right to read and copyright challenges and a lot more.
D.N.I.S.: Is W.I.P.O. seriously considering the Treaty for the Blind, as proposed by the World Blind Union, in the face of stiff opposition from countries like U.S.A.?
Dr. Francis Gurry: I do not think that the United States is opposed to the idea. It is true that they need more time to get comfortable with the idea but we are working on it.At W.I.P.O., we are committed to the issue and are working towards a position favourable for all Member States. However, I would urge caution. Any international Treaty has to follow a certain process which takes time. Member States will need their time to agree to the Treaty and then to sign and ratify it. This is a long drawn process and will take years.
D.N.I.S.: With the strong opposition from publishers bordering on an impasse, what according to you is the way forward for both the publishers and the visually impaired community?
Dr. Francis Gurry: I do not think there is any impasse. The success of the process is based in developing an understanding and I think that understanding is coming.
D.N.I.S: Your suggestions to countries like India on amending copyright laws for the benefit of print impaired people?
Dr. Francis Gurry: I cannot comment on what India is doing but yes the developments are very, very encouraging. What we need to do is make the legislation of each country talk to each other. This is necessary to ensure that information in accessible formats can be given out to other countries. To enable this, a country has to support the international Treaty (the Treaty for the Blind). 50 countries endorse it now and more and more countries are supporting it. And if India comes in, a national exception would be made in its copyright law as far as sharing information in accessible formats is concerned.As more and more countries amend their copyright laws, it becomes easier to reach an international consensus.
D.N.I.S.: What are your views on having accessible formats of regional language literature?
Dr. Francis Gurry: Success of this process ultimately will also depend on books being converted into regional laguages. This aspect will also need to be looked at.
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