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Technology & Innovation

Blind Siding

The Obama administration is supporting the “loosening” of international copyright laws to enable cross-border distributions of special format reading materials for the blind.

“The Obama administration announced Tuesday it supports loosening international copyright protections to enable cross-border distribution of special-format reading materials for the blind, a move that puts it at odds with nearly all of U.S. industry. The government announced its support for the underlying principle of the WIPO Treaty for Sharing Accessible Formats of Copyrighted Works for Persons Who are Blind or Have other Reading Disabilities. The announcement was made in Geneva before a subcommittee of the World Intellectual Property Organization, which has about 180 members. The move comes as a broad spectrum of American enterprise, ranging from major software makers and book publishers to motion picture and music companies, have opposed the proposed international treaty that would make books more accessible to the blind. The chief complaint is that the treaty creates a bad precedent by loosening copyright restrictions, instead of tightening them as have every other international copyright treaty.”


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