FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release Date: 
Thursday, May 30, 2013
Category: 
Chris Danielsen
Director of Public Relations
National Federation of the Blind
(410) 659-9314, extension 2330
(410) 262-1281 (Cell)
Kate Bedingfield
MPAA Washington, D.C.
(202) 293-1966

JOINT STATEMENT BY NATIONAL FEDERATION OF THE BLIND PRESIDENT MARC MAURER AND MPAA CHAIRMAN SENATOR CHRIS DODD ON IMPORTANCE OF COMPLETING WIPO VISUALLY IMPAIRED TREATY

Maurer, Dodd call for negotiators to get back to basics to ensure meaningful WIPO VIPT

WASHINGTON –National Federation of the Blind President Marc Maurer and MPAA Chairman and CEO Senator Chris Dodd today released the following joint statement calling on WIPO VIPT negotiators to get back to basics to finish a meaningful treaty that expands access to published works for the visually impaired.
 
“NFB and MPAA call for the WIPO VIPT negotiators to get back to basics.  
 
We fully support a Treaty that facilitates access to published works in the form of text, notation and/or related illustrations for the blind and print disabled to address the book famine wherein the blind and print disabled have access to less than five percent of published works worldwide.
 
The Treaty must achieve two overarching goals: creating exceptions and limitations in copyright law which allow published works to be converted into formats accessible to the blind and print disabled, and permitting accessible copies of published works to be shared across international borders. 
 
Ultimately, we believe it should be for signatories to determine how they will implement the Treaty in accordance with their legal and administrative traditions.  We underscore that this important Treaty must not be a vehicle for extraneous agendas.  The goal remains, as it has been since the outset, a meaningful treaty to create greater access to published works for the visually impaired.
 
Such a treaty should embody the following core principles:
 
1. Support a legally-binding access Treaty which will allow more published works to be converted into accessible formats used by the blind and print disabled.
2. Allow those accessible copies to be shared across international borders.  
3. Take account of countries' level of development, in line with existing international provisions.
4. Ensure that the treaty will be fully consistent with international copyright norms.
5. Avoid addressing extraneous copyright issues not directly related to creating greater access to published works for the blind and print disabled.
 
Following these core elements will provide the proponents of this treaty with the goal they seek - greater access for the blind and print disabled - while at the same time not diverting time and resources to other agendas that serve no purpose in reaching the underlying goal.  The NFB and MPAA share the objective of achieving a Treaty that facilitates access to published works by the blind and print disabled and believe this framework provides the best option for attaining a meaningful treaty in Marrakech.  We are confident that negotiators can achieve this critical objective and also ensure that the instrument is fully consistent with the existing international copyright framework.  Now is the time to refocus on this singular objective and cull the document of extraneous issues.  We call on negotiators to work together, guided by the above principles, to ensure that Marrakech is a success.”