[AI] BJP, Left threaten to block Copyright Bill

rahul cherian rahul.cherian at inclusiveplanet.com
Fri Apr 23 06:43:23 EDT 2010

> The Mint, Delhi, April, 23, 2010

Economy and Politics Page

 Manish Ranjan and Santosh K. Joy

New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Left parties on Thursday
threatened to block an amendment to the Copyright Bill in Parliament if the
government does not make changes to safeguard the interests of the visually

“The discriminatory provisions of the Bill must go,” said Communist Party of
India-Marxist (CPM) leader Brinda Karat.

Arun Jaitley, BJP member and leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha,
said his party was against the amendment in its current form.

The proposed amendment makes an exception in the law to allow the conversion
of printed material in special formats like Braille and without any royalty
or licence fees.

But many visually handicapped people have already moved on to electronic and
audio formats such as screen-reading software and digital talking books.

The proposed Bill makes no exception for electronic formats and treats any
digital conversion without permission as a copyright violation punishable
under law.

Rahul Cherian, a copyright lawyer working with Inclusive Planet, a
non-profit body, said the proposed amendment would deprive more than 70
million Indians with disabilities from exercising their right to education.

Shamnad Basheer, professor in intellectual property law at National
University of Juridical Sciences, said it was ironical that education
minister Kapil Sibal formed a sub-committee to sort out copyright issues
between Hindi film-makers and writers and lyricists, but took no initiative
to address the concerns of the visually impaired.

*manish.r at livemint.com*

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