Headline Oct 09, 2014/




Student/Founder Vishnu Chaitanya, India.     Student Abel Abel Inis, Nigeria.     Student Ahmed Yasser, Egypt.     Student Omid Kawous, Afghanistan.     Student Omer L Dieme, Senegal.     Student Shakeeb Muhammed, University of Waterloo,Canada.

THE 198  books were piled on a table and wrapped in chains; only two remained free.

Blind people were helping the  600   negotiators at a conference in the Moroccan city of Marrakesh visualise:

Book Famine.

The world's  285 million  visually impaired people  40 million of them blind, live mostly in  poor countries   where books in friendly formats   -Braille, audio and large print-   are scarce.

A recent estimate is that Africa has only  500 works  available for blind English-speakers.

The Marrakesh meeting was to finalise a coyright treaty. of which the most important provision    -according to Dan Pescod of  Britain's Royal National Institute of Blind People   -is to allow blind-friendly books to be exported.

Today's  copyright regime prohibits such cross-border trade.

A Braille book made in America,  for example, cannot legally be sold in Britain.

Argentina has over   50,000   works available for visually impaired readers readers, but they cannot be distributed in neighbouring Uruguay,  which has a paltry  4,000.

Charities must therefore acquire the rights and pay for another conversion  (which can cost more than $7,000). This takes times and wastes money.

In late 2012 the World Intellectual Property Organisation, a UN body, suggested that that the treaty could be signed the following June. But copyright laws have powerful defenders- 

Who are suspicious of any precedent that might dent their legal armour and business models.

They worry that negotiators might cite exemptions for the blind when they hack away copyright laws to benefit other causes   -looser drug patents, for example.

The treaty will also help charities sidestep copyright laws in the  127 poor countries without legal  provision for blind-friendly formats.

The Intellectual Property Owners Association  (IPO),  a trade group warned the American negotiator,  the US Patent Office,  of the   ''dangerous precedent'' an agreement might set.

Though the treaty hardly effects Hollywood, it fears that unclear clauses could be abused,  says Chris Marcich  of the  Motion Pictures Association of America.

The MPAA tried to remove the fair use provision in the treaty, preferring other existing rules which stipulate that   ''special cases''   should not affect   ''normal exploitation''  of work,  or  ''unreasonably prejudice''   the owner's interest.

Business Europe, a lobby,  wrote to the European Commission to try to delay the signing.

Hollywood also rustled up support from foreign friends: Nollywood  (Nigeria)  and Bollywood (India)
A round of negotiations in April brought  ''disaster'' , says James Love,  head of Knowledge Ecology International,  a Washington-based charity, who helped draft  the treaty.

Although the talks had seemed almost finished, the discussions reopened on  88 clauses.

After a week of haggling in Morocco, careful wording ensured that the treaty was adopted, three days after the books in chains were piled outside the venue.

But for it to come into effect,  20 countries must pass it into domestic law. 

With respectful dedication to the Blind Students, Professors and Teachers of the world. See Ya all on !WOW!  -the World Students Society Computers-Internet-Wireless:

''' Between The Lines '''

'''Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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