Statement by India at the WIPO Diplomatic Conference to adopt a Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works by Visually Impaired Persons and Persons with Print Disabilities at Marrakesh delivered by Shri G.R. Raghavender, Registrar of Copyrights and Director, Ministry of Human Resource Development, on 17 June 2013
The Indian delegation would like to join who spoke earlier in congratulating you on your election as the President of this Diplomatic Conference to Conclude a Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works by Visually Impaired Persons and Persons with Print Disabilities. We would like to thank the Kingdom of Morocco for hosting this Diplomatic Conference and also for excellent hospitality extended to us. We believe that your able and dynamic leadership and guidance will facilitate the member states in adopting the treaty to the satisfaction of the world blind.
Indian delegation is very happy to arrive here in this historic city of Marrakesh which has earlier given us WTO and TRIPS in 1994. We hope that this auspicious place will give us another multilateral treaty at the end of this Diplomatic Conference. We are very positive that this Dip Conf will pave the way in ACESS of published works to VIPs. Indian delegation would like to congratulate Mr Francis Gurry, DG, WIPO and Mr Trevor Clarke, ADG, WIPO for their initiatives and dynamic leadership in organising a second Diplomatic Conference in the second year in a row.
India understands that access to knowledge is one the key issues which has been emphasised in various international fora. Limitations and exceptions to copyright tries to achieve the objectives of access to knowledge and equal opportunities. Hitherto, all treaties and conventions fare focused either on protection of rights or on extension of protection of rights to the digital or Internet environment. This Diplomatic Conference is going to decide an unprecedented Treaty on exceptions and limitations to copyrights and related rights, which is first of its kind. In view of this, there are obvious misgivings that this treaty may weaken the well established copyright system or it may worsen online piracy of copyrighted works rather than facilitating access to works for Visually Impaired Persons.
As laid down in Article 7 of TRIPS agreement, which states that, ‘the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights should contribute to mutual benefits of producers and users of technological knowledge and in a manners conducive to social and economic welfare and to balance of rights’. Therefore, this treaty is not going to weaken the copyright system but it will certainly facilitate the musch needed access to works by Visually Impaired Persons but reflects the concept of balancing of rights enshrined in the Berne convention, WCT, WPPT and Beijing treaty.
The member states have shown extraordinary and unprecedented flexibility so far in agreeing to negotiate a treaty on limitations and exceptions to facilitate access to published works by VIPs. All the member states have arrived here after putting 4 years of thier hard work in finalising the basic proposal. There are still some serious issues such as commercial availability, cross border exchange, TPM and so on which will be negotiated in the coming days. Indian delegation believes that in this humanitarian cause of facilitating access to published works by Visually Impaired Persons the member states will have no hesitation in moving forward and siting in a 'flexibility boat' to achieve the objectives of this Diplomatic Conference.