European Union announces its mandate to negotiate a binding Treaty for the Blind

On 19 November 2012, the European Union announced to WIPO’s Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) that it now had the mandate to “negotiate the conclusion conclusion of an instrument including a binding treaty” for the blind.


Statement by the European Union and its Member States 25th Session of WIPO Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights

Mr Chairman,

The European Union and its Member States would like to thank you and the WIPO Secretariat for the work on exceptions and limitations for visually impaired and print-disabled persons.

Mr Chairman, in the last year we made considerable progress to find a solution to this very specific problem with a very specific objective – to remove barriers which prevent the access of the visually impaired persons to books in accessible formats, including by helping, in a secure manner, the cross-border distribution of such accessible format copies.

At the last session in this Committee we had extensive discussions on the proposal for an international instrument on limitations and exceptions for persons with print disabilities. Based on the comments made by delegations and Regional Groups during the debate the Secretariat prepared the working document SCCR/24/9.

The European Union and its Member States actively engaged in the work of the intersessional meeting organised by WIPO in October. We have found these discussions very useful as they helped to achieve a better understanding of the positions of the delegations and Regional Groups. We look forward to continuing the discussions in a constructive manner.

Our objectives for the 25th session of the SCCR for this item are to concentrate the negotiations on the specific needs of visually impaired and print-disabled persons and to achieve a strong convergence of views on the solutions that we need to deliver. We need to advance as much as possible on the text. Only a focussed and balanced approach will allow the Standing Committee to
recommend that the General Assembly convene a Diplomatic Conference in 2013.

Our goal is clear; we want to ensure that visually impaired and print-disabled persons anywhere in the world have the same access to books than any other person. We believe this goal is within reach if we stay on course and target the specific problems we have set ourselves to address while being mindful of the need to have effective protection of the rights of creators.

The EU and its MS are now also in the position to negotiate the conclusion of an instrument, including a binding treaty. They recall their political commitment to address the needs of visually impaired and print-disabled persons in an effective and balanced manner that does not affect the principles of the existing international copyright framework.