Simpsons Solicitors

WIPO Treaty for the Visually Impaired

May 10th 2013
In June 2013, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) is convening a Diplomatic Conference to conclude a treaty to facilitate access to content by the visually impaired.

See WIPO webpage for information on the Conference.

Australia has world-leading copyright provisions to assist the visually impaired. Copyright Agency is appointed by the Australian Government to manage the statutory licence that allows the making of accessible-format material. The licence allows for payment, but Copyright Agency’s board has decided not to seek payment for copies made under the licence.

Copyright Agency has also established a Masters Catalogue for institutions assisting the visually impaired to share information about accessible-format master copies.

Copyright Agency and its members have some reservations about the proposed treaty, which are set out in submissions to the Australian Government here and here).

In summary, they relate to

  • enabling the provision of accessible-format copies by providers other than ‘authorised entities’, including commercial providers (thus maintaining an incentive for rightsholders to develop and supply accessible format content that is commonly superior in quality to that offered by subsidised institutions); and
  • adequate safeguards for the storage and use of digital files.

In addition to the representation of our members’ interests at the diplomatic conference by IFRRO, we have provided financial assistance to the Australian Copyright Council for its Executive Director, Fiona Phillips, to attend. Her attendance has also been financially supported by Simpsons Solicitors.

The Council has been granted official observer status, supported by the Australian government. Fiona has considerable experience in conferences of this kind from her previous position in the Attorney-General’s Department.

Source: CAL, with thanks.