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U.S. issues positive statement at W.I.P.O.: Disability News and Information Service

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U.S. issues positive statement at W.I.P.O.

D.N.I.S. News Network, India: In an interview with D.N.I.S. in one of its previous issues, Dr. Francis Gurry, Director General, World International Property Organization (W.I.P.O.) had said, “United States is not opposed to the idea (The Treaty for the Blind, Visually Impaired and Other Reading Disabled Persons, as proposed by the World Blind Union) but needs more time to get comfortable with it.”

Close on this comment, and in what can be seen as a significant shift from its past position, the United States has expressed its willingness to consider a treaty on limitations and exceptions to copyright for the benefit of visually impaired people and other reading disabled persons. Even though it has not supported the treaty outright, nevertheless, their statement can be seen as a major and positive advance in its policy position.

Visually impaired persons world over face an acute shortage of printed material. Presently the copyright law of many countries restricts them from accessing works under copyright. Only 5 percent of all printed material is available in accessible formats to blind persons. This percentage too is for developed countries. The situation gets worse in developing countries. The percentage in India for instance is a miniscule 0.5 percent!