Copyright and Publishing

In today's world, full participation in education, employment, culture and the general life of society can only be achieved if one is able to read the same material as others, at the same time and at no additional cost.

The "Right to Read" is set out in various texts:

- United Nations Universal Declaration on Human Rights

Article 19: Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.
Article 27 (i) : Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.

- The same principles are echoed in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

- Article 30.3 of the UN International Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities refers specifically to copyright, while the broader issue of access to information crops up in several places.

Yet blind and partially sighted people are often denied this fundamental right as the great majority of publications remain unavailable in large print, audio, braille or any other format accessible to blind or partially sighted people.

What we do

Along with the World Blind Union, we work to remove all barriers to our right to read, whether these barriers are legal, technological or economic.

The EBU Copyright and Publishing Working Group seeks to influence legislators and rights holders to this end.

In addition, EBU legislative database provides information on copyright legislation in several European countries and compares these with the UN Convention.

Copyright when mis-used, can pose a serious barrier to blind and partially sighted people wishing to access information, as permission to reproduce in accessible formats can be delayed or denied.

New forms of copy protection and digital rights management compound this problem. See Digital Rights Management and people with sight loss, an article submitted by EBU to the Newsletter of the Indicare project, 2006

Partnership in publishing: Digital technology offers us the opportunity to use the same source files to create a range of formats. This means there is enormous potential for the integration of "mainstream" and "specialist" publishing. This would allow new business models which would lead to:
- more titles becoming available ;
- publication in accessible formats at or close to the date of original publication ;
- the prospect of a revenue stream for the author and publisher.

EBU closely collaborates with the Federation of European Publishers, academics and accessible format producers. Amongst others, it has supported the work of the now completed EUAIN project.

For more information

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