[AI] coverage of copyright amendment press conference in mumbai

Xavier's Resource Centre for the Visuall St. Xavier's College xrcvc at hotmail.com
Fri Apr 16 06:27:59 EDT 2010

Dear friends,
We are pasting below few articles that appeared in today’s newpapers with regard to copyright amendment press conference that National Access Alliance (N A A) organized in Mumbai.  Would appreciate if any other article that you find.  (for easy navigation given headings to paper names)  - Dr. Sam Taraporevala, Director, XRCVC
Times of India 
Print impaired fear change in Copyright Act could hurt them 
Joeanna Rebello Fernandes I TNN 
Mumbai: An amendment to the Copyright Act of 1957,proposed to be introduced in the current budget session,is generating concern among the print impaired who feel it may not address the real issue.
This concern was expressed by the National Access Alliancea cohesive group of legal professionals and organisations working for the print disabled in Indiaat a press meet on Thursday.The Alliance has been campaigning for a suitable amendment that will make legal the conversion of books and periodicals into accessible formats like audio recordings and e-texts for the print impaired.In November 2009,the Alliance approached HRD minister Kapil Sibal,who promised to draft an amendment conducive to their needs.
But the modification to be announced will mean the only special format a book can be converted into,without violating the Copyright Act,is Braille.All technologically advanced formats like e-books and audio-books will require special licence.It supposes that all print impairments outside visual disability,like dyslexia and cerebral palsy,can be serviced by Braille.It further supposes that all visually impaired persons can read Braille.
The other caveat is thisonly organisations working for the disabled are eligible to apply for a licence to convert and distribute a book.This leaves out in the cold educational bodies,self-help groups,non-profits and individuals themselves.By this measure,even an institution like the Xavier Resource Centre for the Visually Challenged (XRCVC) is barred from making study material available to its members.
The amendment to the Fair Use clause of the existing Act needs to be format-neutral and cover all print impairments, says Dr Sam Taraporevala,director,XRCVC.Blind welfare institutions will find it cumbersome to approach the Copyright Board for obtaining licensing for every work produced in Braille or other non-specialised formats, said K Ramakrishna,secretary general of the National Association for Blind,India.
Elizabeth Kurian,regional director of Sightsavers,said,We are glad the government is trying to bring about an amendment to the Copyright Act.But in its current form,the amendment would go against the spirit of inclusion. Such legislation,analysts fear,will more likely encourage a black market of reading material.
16th April, 2010
Right to education will remain a dream’
Center’s plan to change the copyright act will defeat the purpose
Mayura Janwalkar
The union government has made the right to education a fundamental right; but almost 70 million print-disabled people will find it difficult to access textbooks and other study material if the government amends the copyright act, 1957. 
The amended act will make it mandatory to have licences to reproduce copyrighted work in any format — even it is meant for the use of persons suffering from visual, aural, or other disability.
The amended proposal may be introduced in parliament in the current budget session, dr Sam Taraporevala, director of the Xavier’s Resource centre for the visually challenged (XRCVC), said at a press conference on Thursday. He said the government should reconsider changing the act. 
“there are a few proposed amendments,” Kanchan Pamnani, visually impaired advocate and solicitor, said. “but this will make our life more difficult.” citing her experience while she was studying law, pamnani said a plethora of reference books had to be unbound and scanned for her to study. “it was a back-breaking job because such books ran into thousands of pages.” 
if the act is changed, an organisation working for the disabled will have to apply for a licence from the copyright board before reproducing any copyrighted text. the Process of accessing available material will become more tedious, she said. “if somebody in Kolkata Has Already Scanned The Reference Material Why Should I Have To Do It Again Here?” print disability, apart from the blind, applies to those suffering from dyslexia and cerebral palsy. “when i was doing my mba, i spent most of my time searching for reference material that could be accessed in a format i could read,” Ketan Kothari of Sightsavers international said. “braille is cumbersome and expensive. now, there are formats that can convert text to audio.”
of the 70 million disabled people in the country, 20 million were children, Elizabeth Kurian, regional director of Sightsavers international, said. “Their right to education will not be a reality if the act is changed.”
Free Press Release
16th  april, 2010
PRASHANT KHEDEKAR, a visually challenged student in th second-year BA at St. Xavier's College, must make specia arrangements to gather the notes. As part of the Xavier' Resource Centre for the Visually Challenged (XRCVC), his class mates help him record and type out the class notes on a person al basis. This is nearly eight years after the Constitution wa amended to make education a fundamental right. 
However, with no respite coming their way, the print disabled even after the passage of this bill whose implementation leaves lot to be desired in terms of copyright issues. 
Reportedly, an amendment to the Copyrights Act 1957 is goin to be put up for discussion in the current budget. The proposed amendment will reportedly deprive over 70 million disabled people from exercising tion.
their very Right to Educa This 'exclusionist' amendment will effectively prevent NGO's, educational institutions and persons with disabilities from converting reading material including textbooks and reference material into audio, digital and other formats that can be used by persons with disabilities to 'read' such material. 
With the amendment of this act, Prashant's notes will take more time to print because everytime he'll need reference material, he would have to approach the publishers individually to seek permission. 
"To make matters worse, the organizations helping will be tied down by bureaucratic red tape, with the passage of this amendment," claimed Prajana Balaji, a student volunteer at the XRCVC.
"It is against the tenets of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), the Constitution of India, and the Persons with Disability Act," she added. 
It was in this regard, members of The National Access Alliance met up at St. Xavier's College to openly discuss the hiccups of this proposed amendment.
Hindusthan Times 
16th April, 2010
Disability rights activists seek changes to Copyright Act
If a proposed amendment to the Copyright Act is passed by the Parliament, about 70 million of the country’s disabled will not be able to freely access text books, novels and any other printed material.
This is the message that members of the National Access Alliance (NAA), a consortium comprising disability activists pushing for appropriate amendments to the Copyright Act, 1957, gave out to the public at a press meet on Thursday. 
The alliance is objecting to the proposed ‘special format’ clause in the Copyright Amendment Bill, to be tabled soon in Parliament. The special format clause allows conversion of printed material only in Braille and sign language form. 
As a result, other print-impaired persons such as those with dyslexia, cerebral palsy or low-vision, will need a licence to convert printed form to audio or digital format suitable to them.
Printing Braille books is not only expensive but also not practical for college students who have vast textbook and reference material, said Sam Taraporevala, director of the Xavier’s Resource Centre for the Visually Challenged, which is part of NAA. “The amendment would rob millions of students of their fundamental right to education,” he said.
“Over 50 countries around the world have copyright exceptions for the print impaired, and it is time that India has them too,” said Kanchan Pamnani, a lawyer and a visually impaired user of digital reading formats.           
The NAA has proposed that the Copyright Act should allow the suitable conversion of print material into all formats accessible to people with various kinds of print disabilities, and that stakeholders be able to undertake conversion
Indian Express
Activists oppose ‘discriminatory’ amendment to Copyright Act
ManaviDeopura Tags : government, Copyright Act Posted: Friday , Apr 16, 2010 at 0232 hrs Mumbai: 
Opposing the upcoming amendment to the Copyright Act, 1957 that proposes to exempt only the ‘specially designed’ formats like Braille to help the disabled read, a group of disability rights activists on Thursday said that the move is “discriminatory” to people not knowing Braille and will be “counterproductive”. 
The National Access Alliance (NAA), an umbrella body campaigning for an appropriate amendment to the copyright Act, said it believes that the proposed clause, 52 Z (a) will hamper rather than help the print-impaired (people with any form of visual, cerebral or orthopaedic disability that deters normal reading) in accessing books. 
It insisted that the Human Resource Development Ministry sets up a sub-committee that can propose appropriate suggestions before the clause is tabled in the Parliament. 
Dr Sam Taraporewala, director of the Xaviers Resource Centre for the Visually Challenged and a member of the NAA, gives reasons for the opposition. “For one, the amendment claims that in order to convert books to disabled-friendly formats, the entity seeking to do so must apply for a license. That itself will take two to three months to be processed and students seeking to read will suffer unreasonable time losses,” he said. “We would be caught up in paperwork. Moreover, the proposed clause wants to set an expiry date on the license and limit the number of people who can use the licensed books,” he added. 
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