• Brazilian statement in support of a treaty on exceptions and limitations for persons with print disabilities

    The twenty-second session from the Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR22) (15-24 June 2011) has reached its 5th day of meetings (7 if we take into account the vivid negotiations that had been through out the weekend). This Wednesday the chairman  was focusing on reach a consensus regarding the document on an international instrument on limitations and exceptions for persons with print disabilities. Brazil has just opened the session with the following statement (transcribed during the session), pushing for a treaty on the matter.

    Answers from comments proposed on the document, mainly by African Group, are still to be delivered to move forward on the approval (or not) of the proposal.

    “Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

    Mr. Chairman, it is with measure pleasure that Brazil notes that we started this second week of the 22nd SCCR with a text on the table that’s co-sponsored by Australia Brazil now Cuba Mexico Paraguay and the United States and that is also supported by the EU. For Brazil this text has always been negotiated with a view to becoming the basis of an international treaty on exceptions and limitations to copyright for persons with print disabilities.

    Brazil was looking forward with both hope and humility to further listening to the remarks, suggestions and criticisms from all Member States as well as from Civil Society organizations, which are following closely this negotiating process.

    This process is now two years old. Time is right to take a few more steps towards a truly historic achievement in this UN organisation. We are indeed in a position to make a significant contribution to mitigate the plight of more than 150 million human beings. These are people who have limited access to education and culture. Not because lack of drive to work hard. Not because of lack of thirst of knowledge and not because of lack of aspiration to play their part in the material and cultural welfare of our countries. For unforeseen circumstances that science cannot still remedy they are deprived on the basic right to equal opportunity.

    Mr. Chairman, back in 2009 Brazil decided to table in this committee a draft treaty on exceptions and limitations guided by two assumptions the first one the international treaty we are seeking to conclude must be a useful instrument for persons with print disabilities. This is why we tabled the text originally elaborated by the World Blind Union by people who know best the reality on the ground. Second, the international copyright regime is a mature system with more than 120 years of implementation, experience in many countries. It is feasible to craft precise and effective exceptions and limitation norms without depriving the rights of authors to reap the benefits of their creativity. We all recognize those rights and are fully committed to defend them, that there be no doubt about it.

    Those two assumptions remain the guiding principles underlying Brazil’s position. We are committed to help bringing this negotiating process to a successful outcome. For Brazil a successful outcome is an international instrument which will be useful and effective. An effective instrument which makes clear the firm commitment on the ground of all Member States to mitigating the book famine of more than 150 million people worldwide.

    At the end of the process there must be a treaty. There is no reason why we should not aim for a treaty. This question, whether we should or not aim for a treaty should also be answered also bearing in mind the broader background of all of the themes under discussion in this committee.  We see emerging consensus gathering around the texts around the protection of audiovisual performances. Nobody is questioning that if this consensus prevails a diplomatic conference should be convened to adopt a treaty on the protection of audiovisual performances. If we succeed in forging consensus around the texts on exceptions and limitations for persons with print disabilities we should also in a precise point in time convene a diplomatic conference to adopt a treaty.

    We do not see why there should be a substantive difference of treatment between the negotiations under protection of audiovisual performances and the negotiations on exceptions and limitations for people with print disabilities. We see rather a strong ethical case for adopting a treaty on exceptions and limitations for persons with print disabilities.

    Thank you, Mr. Chairman.”

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