Copyright Exceptions for Visually Impaired Persons: The WIPO Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works by Visually Impaired Persons
The advent of digital technology has improved methods of access to copyright works, and the forms of those works, for visually impaired and other reading-disabled persons. However, the distribution of copyright works via the internet may result in loss of rights by copyright holders, while at the same time increasing the risk of copyright infringement by the print-disabled. All of this has meant that legislators have had to reconsider the balance of interests between the various stakeholders in copyright protection. Over recent years, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) has placed increasing emphasis on access to copyright works for visually impaired and reading-disabled persons, and examined why the doctrine of fair use fails to provide individuals with a defence against copyright infringement. In June 2013, the Marrakesh Treaty, or ‘Treaty for the Blind’, was adopted at the WIPO diplomatic conference. It is intended to facilitate access to published works for persons who are blind, visually impaired, or otherwise print-disabled—and specifically, to improve access to copyright works, while reducing the risk of copyright infringement. The thesis evaluates the Marrakesh Treaty for people who are blind, visually impaired, or print-disabled. Its central argument is that copyright exceptions are not sufficiently broad in scope to provide appropriate access to the full range of materials which visually impaired and reading-disabled persons may require. It goes on to contend that improving licensing systems, and granting appropriate and clear remuneration to copyright holders, are more likely to encourage the supply and exchange of works in formats which are accessible to visually impaired persons.
AuthorsChen, T-L; Queen Mary University of London
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