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Proposed WIPO Treaty for Improved Access for Blind, Visually Impaired, and Other Reading Disabled Persons

and Its Compatibility with TRIPS Three-Step Test and EU Copyright Law

  1. LL.M Iheanyi Samuel Nwanko


Although the world’s attention has on several occasions been turned to the plight of the vision impaired, there has been no international copyright instrument that specifically provides for limitations or exceptions to copyright for their benefit. Such an instrument becomes imperative amidst the grow- ing number of persons in this category and the need to facilitate their access to information that will give them the opportunity to participate in public affairs. Brazil, Ecuador, Paraguay, and Mexico (Brazilian group) seek to fill this gap by submitting to the WIPO’s Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights a draft treaty for Improved Access for Blind, Visually Impaired and Other Reading Disabled Persons. How- ever, this proposal has generated a lot of reactions, resulting in three other such proposals being submit- ted to WIPO for deliberations. Copyright owners have also opposed the treaty. Amidst these reactions, this work seeks to analyze the compatibility of the Brazilian group’s proposal with the TRIPS three-step test, which has enjoyed a great deal of international recognition since its inclusion in the Berne Convention. It also seeks to find its compatibility with EU copyright law as harmonized in the Directive 2001/29/EC. In the end, we conclude that the proposed treaty is in harmony with the three-step test, and though it has some variations from the EU Copyright Directive, it nonetheless shares some underlying objectives with the Directive and does not radically depart from what prevails in several EU member states.




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JIPITEC – Journal of Intellectual Property, Information Technology and E-Commerce Law
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