WIPO releases negotiating November 20th text: Treaty for the Blind

On Wednesday, 21 November 2012, the plenary of the 25th Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) resumed at 10:30 AM. After the plenary, the an ambassador-level meeting of the African Group will be held. The informals are expected to take place between 2PM to 9PM.

The November 20th text is reproduced below:

Text agreed on November 20, 2012.



Recognizing the importance of the international copyright system and desiring to harmonize exceptions and limitations with a view to facilitating access to and use of works by persons with visual impairments/print disabilities.


For the purposes of these provisions …

“authorized entity”:

Authorized entity means an entity that is authorized or recognized by the government to provide education, instructional training, adaptive reading or information access to beneficiary persons on a non-profit basis. It also includes a government institution or non-profit organization that provides the same services to beneficiary persons as one of its primary activities or institutional obligations.

[establishes and follows] [may maintain] its own rules and procedures
i) to establish that the persons it serves are beneficiary persons;
ii) to limit to beneficiary persons and/or authorized entities its distribution and making available of accessible format copies;
iii) to discourage the reproduction, distribution and making available of unauthorized copies [including by informing authorized entities and beneficiary persons that any abuse will lead to stopping the supply of accessible format copies]; and
iv) to maintain reasonable care in, and records of, its handling of copies of works, while respecting the privacy of beneficiary persons in accordance with Article H; in the case of an authorized entity that serves a rural or small population and does not distribute accessible format copies in electronic form for whom record keeping would constitute an undue burden such record keeping may be appropriately adjusted.
[v) An authorized entity carrying out cross-border exchanges of accessible format copies establishes and follows rules and procedures which enable the provision of anonymous and aggregated data relating to such exchanges for the evaluation, when appropriate, of their volume and periodicity.] [This provision shall not apply to developing and least developed countries, nor to governmental authorized entities, libraries or educational institutions.]]

In the case of an authorized entity that engages only in activities under Article[s] [C] [C and E], [as regards physical copies] items iii to v? iv to v? shall be discretionary.


[1. Member States/Contracting Parties should/shall adopt appropriate measures to implement the provisions of this international legal instrument/joint recommendation/treaty.

2. Member States/Contracting Parties should/shall apply the international legal instrument/joint recommendation/treaty transparently, taking into account the priorities and special needs of developing countries as well as the different levels of development of the Member States/Contracting Parties.

3. Member States/Contracting Parties should/shall ensure the implementation of this international legal instrument/joint recommendation/treaty allows for timely and effective exercise of actions covered, including expeditious procedures that are fair and equitable.]

[Language to be proposed prior to SCCR by Brazil, EU, India, Nigeria and US.]


National implementation provision

[first sentence]
Member States/Contracting Parties should/shall adopt the measures necessary to ensure the application of this instrument/treaty.

[second sentence]
Nothing shall prevent parties from determing the appropriate method of implementing the provisions of this instrument/treaty within their own legal system and practice.

[third sentence]
Member States/Contracting Parties may fulfill their obligations under this instrument/treaty through specific exceptions or limitations for beneficiary persons; general exceptions or limitations such as fair dealing or fair use; or a combination thereof, whether existing or established to fulfill this instrument/treaty.

“Circumstances” provision

A Member State/Contracting Party may, but shall not be obliged to, implement in its law other exceptions and limitations for the benefit of beneficiary persons than are provided by this Agreement, having regard to that Party’s economic, social, and cultural circumstances, provided that they are consistent with its international obligations.

“Respect for copyright” provision

A Member State/Contracting party should/shall implement in its law the provisions herein in a manner that fulfills its obligations under the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works and any other treaties, including the obligations to limit such exceptions and limitations to certain special cases which do not conflict with a normal exploitation of a work and do not unreasonably prejudice the legitimate interests of the right holder;

“Respect for visually-impaired” provision

A Member State/Contracting Party should/shall implement in its law the provisions herein in a manner that fulfills its obligations under other international agreements with respect to the treatment and protection of visually-impaired persons/persons with print disabilities.]


To the extent that national law of a Member State/Contracting Party would permit a beneficiary person, someone acting on his or her behalf, or an authorized entity, to make an accessible format copy of a work, the national law of that Member State/Contracting Party should/shall also permit [them/authorized entities] to import an accessible format copy for the benefit of beneficiary persons, without the authorization of the rightholder.




[To foster the cross-border exchange of accessible format copies, Member States/Contracting Parties shall endeavor to facilitate the voluntary sharing of information to assist authorized entities in identifying one another. The International Bureau shall establish an information access point for this purpose.]