I took the opportunity to ask him what the Commission is planning to do about accessible books for visually impaired persons, now that the European Parliament has expressed its support for an international WIPO treaty to address the ”book famine” problem.
Unfortunately, I did not get any clear answer from the Commissioner, so I have now submitted the question in writing instead:
Priority Written Question to the Commission (Rule 117 (4))
AUTHOR(S): ENGSTRÖM, Christian
SUBJECT: European Parliament vote and EU position on WIPO Treaty for Visually Impaired
On May 12th, 2011 the plenary session of European Parliament adopted a report called ”Unlocking the potential of the cultural and creative industries” (INI/2010/2156), that made clear its support for the international binding ”Treaty for the visually impaired and other print disabled persons” presently being considered at the World Intellectual Property Organization. Article 70 of the report “Calls on the Commission to work actively and positively within the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) to agree on a binding legal norm based on the treaty proposal drafted by the World Blind Union and tabled at WIPO in 2009”.
To date the EU Council and the European Commission, that represent the EU position before WIPO, have rejected the treaty proposal and have instead supported soft law “recommendations” and voluntary licenses.
Given the position expressed by the EP, in favour of a binding legal norm based on the treaty proposal proposed by the World Blind Union, how will the Council and the Commission proceed during the upcoming discussions and special session on this issue at WIPO in June 2011?
I submitted the question as a ”priority question”, which means that the answer should appear on my EU-parl page for written questions in three weeks.
But above all, I of course hope that the Commission will do the right thing at the WIPO discussions that will start in the middle of June.
9 November 2010: Supporting a treaty on books for the blind
13 February 2011: An amendment for books for the blind
18 February 2011: Briefing: A WIPO treaty on books for print disabled
28 February 2011: Books for the blind in JURI: Win!
17 March 2011: Books for the blind in CULT: Win!
12 May 2011: Books for the blind in the EU Parliament: Win!
Picture by Christian Engström, free for publication CC0.