On November 15, 2012, WIPO Director General Francis Gurry took part in the General Assemblies of the World Blind Union (WBU) and the International Council for Education of People with Visual Impairment (ICEVI) in Bangkok and delivered a keynote address on the “Right to Read”. These organizations are are closely following the multilateral negotiations at WIPO on an international treaty focused on improving access to published works for persons who are visually impaired or print disabled.
Some 300 million blind or visually impaired people around the world stand to benefit from a more flexible copyright regime adapted to current technological realities. Individuals with reading impairment often need to convert information into Braille, large print, audio, electronic and other formats using assistive technologies. Only a very small percentage of published books around the world are available in formats accessible to the visually impaired.
Photo: Courtesy Thailand Association of the Blind/Jarupat Sai-ngam.