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29 May 2009 @ 09:23 am
Spreading the word about this...  
Hrm, the WIPO is trying to write a treaty exception to copyright so blind people will have free access to the written word. Several countries including USA, Canada the EU, and Australia, are trying to block this.

"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..."


Whatever your stance on DMCA and copyright, this seems like a very good treaty to me.
Current Mood: annoyed
Dächdach on May 30th, 2009 03:00 am (UTC)
The thing about Braille is, I know of no sighted people who can read it. I'm sure there are a few, but people generally prefer to read in the manner in which they're most comfortable. If you offered to give away, say, a million copies of the last Harry Potter book in Braille to anyone who would take it from you, sales of the printed edition wouldn't be impacted one iota. I wouldn't even take a free large-print edition of it unless it was the only way I could read it. Stupid bureaucrats with nothing better to do!
Big Jess: Moontrinarylogic on June 1st, 2009 04:07 am (UTC)
OMG this turned into a blog entry?
I have an issue with this article. While the treaty sounds like a good thing if you have read it, there is no information AT ALL in this article at all about exactly what it intends and why it is being opposed.

There is some good information in the comments, though, among all the uninformed opinion.

The comment that deaf people have the similar accessability issues with other media is important, and I am dissapointed to learn that Kindle is blocking TTS on some titles.

Having worked with several blind people and learned the sorts of things that work for them, I think the primary criticisms of this sort of move boil down to the following:

1) Truly accessable formats are accessable by everyone. not just blind or deaf or immobilised people. Releasing content in these formats is not limited to an impared audience. The content can (and SHOULD) be "consumed" by everyone.

2) There is a very, very fuzzy line between people who are disabled and people who are merely "impaired". and an even fuzzier line to people who are unimpared.

I could, by some definitions, be considered visually impaired because my eyesight is near the limit of what can ordinarily be corrected by glasses. But I don't claim to be. My quality of life is not impaired by it. I have spoken to near-blind people who make the same claims once a minimum of assistive aids are in place.

While I applaud what is trying to be achieved here, I think that implementing it as an exception to an exception is ultimately flawed, and disabled and impaired people would be better served by a more general broadening of rights to include format-shifting.

As Kindle seems to be trying to make a point of, merely using TTS could be considered a format shift, and may be illegal in some juristictions and may be legally limited in others. This sort of thing should be available to everyone, not just people with certain disabilities meeting certain criteria through certain channels.

I think this runs a risk of either producing a situation that is unenforcable, or serving to widen the gap between accessability to various people.

More discussion is always good, however, and I would like to see continuing opportunity for options considered at this table rather than the concept rejected outright. I hope this is what is happening.
ashi: arrrr!ashi on June 1st, 2009 07:08 pm (UTC)
Re: OMG this turned into a blog entry?
Thanks for your insight on this.