Via Hayley Tsukayama and Tom Hamburger of The Washington Post comes some good news on the accessibility front:
Negotiators at the World Intellectual Property Organization have finalized terms on a copyright treaty that would provide more book access to the world’s blind and visually impaired.
The treaty makes it legal to make copies of copyrighted material accessible to the blind community by converting it to formats such as Braille books, audio recordings or large-print books without first having to seek permission from copyright holders in every instance.
Yesterday at the International Telecoms Union (ITU) conference in Dubai, a victory was chalked up for freedom as a draft treaty that would give government greater control over the Internet was shot down. As Charles Arthur of The Guardian reports:
The US was first to declare its opposition to the draft treaty. “It is with a heavy heart and a sense of missed opportunities that I have to announce that the United States must communicate that it is unable to sign the agreement in its current form,” Terry Kramer, head of the US delegation, told the conference, after what had looked like a final draft was approved.
“The internet has given the world unimaginable economic and social benefit during these past 24 years. All without UN regulation. We candidly cannot support an ITU Treaty that is inconsistent with the multi-stakeholder model of internet governance.”
The US was joined in its opposition by the UK, Canada, Costa Rica, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Kenya, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Qatar and Sweden. All said they would not sign the proposed final text, meaning that although a number of other countries will sign it, the treaty cannot be effectively implemented.