Wired Magazine has quoted our CEO, Jim Fruchterman, in an about the negotiations for an international treaty to make books more accessible to people who are blind or have other print disabilities. Entitled “Obama Stops Championing Treaty That Gives the Blind Better Access to E-Books,” the article, written by David Kravets, outlines how lobbying by Hollywood and dozens of the world’s largest corporations may subvert the treaty, which has been years in the making.
The article notes that Benetech’s Bookshare library makes about 193,000 titles available to people with print disabilities in the United States. It also cites Jim, who explains that Bookshare is an example of how a balanced copyright law works in the United States, as it allows for the reproduction of books needed by people who are blind or print-disabled without the permission of a copyright holder.
The treaty before the World Intellectual Property Organization would grant the global community that right, and allow for the international sharing of those works. And that, notes the article, is a scary proposition to an industry that relies on intellectual property for its profits. It then quotes Jim saying:
“Our IP industries do not want the rest of the globe to have things like fair use and copyright exemptions. It’s a loosening of the control of intellectual property. Anything that helps poor people on IP is a threat.”