'Right to Read' campaign launched
Fighting against copyright regulations
To highlight the issues faced by persons with print disability – those deprived of Indian books due to unfriendly copyright regulations – a group of organisations launched the Right To Read (R2R) campaign on September 26.
The campaign, jointly launched by the Bangalore-based Centre for Internet and Society (CIS), Daisy Forum of India (DFI), bookbole.com and Inclusive Planet, kickstarted at Loyola College in Chennai on Saturday.
“This campaign was part of the World Blind Union’s (WBU) global campaign,” said Nirmita Narasimhan, Programme Manager, CIS. “We are asking all the organisations to lend their support to our initiative.”
The campaign comes at a time when the Indian government is preparing to consider changes to the copyright law, which it failed to implement two years ago after disability rights campaigners objected to the proposal to make books and other print materials be made in an “exclusive” format.
Nirmita said that this would also be an occasion for activists to urge Government of India to throw its weight behind a WBU treaty tabled at the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) asking for a global copyright regulation that takes into account the needs of persons with print disabilities.
“The treaty is coming up for discussion at Geneva (WIPO's head quarters) in December,” Nirmita said and added: “Right now only three Latin American nations are supporting it. Since India has the largest number of persons with print disability, which includes the visually challenged, persons with autism and children with learning difficulties, our support would likely tilt the balance in favour of the treaty.” Now, the campaign will be gradually taken to other parts of the country, said Rahul Cherian from Inclusive Planet. A signature campaign and distribution of a declaration supporting accommodation of persons with print disability in copyright laws will also be held as part of the campaign.