At its 17th session (November 2008), the WIPO Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) acknowledged that visually impaired persons (VIPs) and other reading-disabled persons have special needs, and stressed the importance of addressing those needs ‘without delay and with appropriate deliberation’, including through 'discussions at the national and international level on possible ways and means of facilitating and enhancing access to protected works'. These discussions are to be complemented by analysis of relevant limitations and exceptions and the establishment of a stakeholders’ platform at WIPO, in order to facilitate arrangements to secure access for disabled persons to protected works.
Based on the above mandate, the WIPO Secretariat invited various stakeholders representing copyright rightholders and VIP interests to participate in a number of meetings, with the aim of exploring concrete needs, concerns and suggested approaches to achieving the goal of facilitating access to works in alternative formats for people with disabilities. Two working subgroups were created among the stakeholders, respectively the trusted intermediaries’ subgroup and the technology subgroup, to advance common understanding in both of these areas and identify practical solutions.
Interim reports on the stakeholders' platform activities have been submitted to the 18th, 19th, 20th, 21st and 24th sessions of the SCCR (documents SCCR/18/4, SCCR/19/10, SCCR/20/6, SCCR/21/10 and SCCR/24/2). Member States have welcomed these reports and encouraged the WIPO Secretariat to continue the work of the platform.