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RNZFB supports a fair deal on copyright

Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind

Media advisory 13 July 2012

RNZFB supports a fair deal on copyright

The Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind (RNZFB) supports the launch of the Fair Deal cause to highlight the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and its implications on copyright.

RNZFB Executive Director Access and Innovation, Neil Jarvis , says the TPP could negatively impact blind and partially sighted New Zealanders.

“Those who have a print disability experience a famine when it comes to accessible information. Alarmingly, less than 5% of all published material is available in formats which are accessible to blind and partially sighted people*.

“Current copyright legislation recognises the specific interests of print disabled people through copyright exemptions. The TPP could potentially put this hard-won right at risk,” Neil says.

The TPP could affect the RNZFB and its 11,500 blind and partially sighted members in a variety of ways, including:

• Risking the right to transcribe copyright material into alternate formats such as braille, large print, electronic text and audio, which are accessible to people with a print disability.
• Temporary copies may become subject to rights owner control and possible veto – the process of transcription often requires a temporary copy.
• Technical protection measures such as locking a text document so it cannot be used with particular hardware like screen readers which blind people use to read text via synthetic speech.

“The RNZFB fully supports the rights of authors, publishers and other rights-holders to protect their copyrighted material. However this should not be at the expense of those who cannot make use of standard print or technology solutions,” Neil says.

Visit the website to learn what's at stake under the TPP and read the RNZFB's viewpoint.

*According to the World Blind Union


About the Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind

• The RNZFB is the main provider of sight loss services. It equips its members with the training, tools and tips they need to deal with their blindness and achieve their potential.

• The RNZFB has over 11,500 members and every day an average of three blind or partially sighted New Zealanders register for services.

Access to information provides independence and empowerment, yet only 5% of printed material is available in formats that blind people can read (World Blind Union).

• The RNZFB advocates for increased access to information and produces documents in accessible formats (such as braille, large print, electronic text and audio) for blind and partially sighted members and external organisations.


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