According to a WIPO press release:
An unprecedented initiative to facilitate access to published works by the visually impaired and the print disabled was announced on October 23, 2010 in New Delhi, India at the 5th meeting of WIPO’s Stakeholders’ Platform, which was set up in January 2009 to explore the specific needs, and concerns, of both copyright owners and reading impaired persons and brings together representatives of the visually impaired persons (VIP) community as well as publishers.
Many, including myself, are looking for work towards a treaty to set minimum global standards for limitations and exceptions to copyright.
I have been stating that any 'hardware assist' for communications, whether it be eye-glasses, VCR's, or personal computers, must be under the control of the citizen and not a third party. WIPO should embrace this concept and clarify via treaty that copyright does not regulate the activities of this technology for personal/private uses. This would not only help the blind (screen readers, etc, would not be regulated), but also every other citizen.
From the release:
The Director General said the Stakeholders’ Platform is an important complement to work currently being undertaken within WIPO’s Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) aimed at establishing a multilateral legal framework in the field of limitations and exceptions for the benefit of VIPs.
I remain concerned that this initiative will not serve as a small step forward, but as a distraction from the inevitable need for WIPO to set minimums for limitations and exceptions to copyright, and not just minimum levels of restrictions.