SINGAPORE - The Government has launched a public consultation exercise on proposed amendments to make copyrighted works more accessible to the visually impaired community in Singapore.
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Here is the full statement from the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore:
The visually impaired community in Singapore can look forward to greater access of copyrighted works in the near future.
The Singapore Government is seeking to ratify the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons who are Blind, Visually Impaired, or otherwise Print Disabled. This Treaty was an international agreement negotiated amongst the 186 Member States under the World Intellectual Property Organisation in June 2013.
Under the current copyright regime, institutions assisting the visually impaired community are limited to reproducing literary and dramatic works into Braille, large print, photographic and sound recorded formats only. There are also no provisions in place currently for cross-border exchange of these formats of work.
The proposed amendments will look to expand on the formats currently provisioned for, to include new formats such as, electronic books, as well as any novel formats which technological advancements may bring about in future.
The works of art currently provisioned for will also be expanded to cover artistic works including architectural and engineering drawings and other prescribed arts of similar nature.
Lastly, copies of work may be imported from foreign institutions assisting the visually handicapped, and exported from similar local institutions, to be shared with beneficiaries for the purpose of research or study.
Mr Michael Tan, Executive Director of The Singapore Association of the Visually Handicapped (SAVH), remarked: "We are heartened by Singapore's move towards enhancing Copyright laws to cater to the less privileged. The proposed amendments to the Copyright Act will certainly open doors for persons with reading disabilities to enjoy greater access to copyrighted materials, both for educational and entertainment purposes. I am confident that this initiative will boost inclusivity for the visually handicapped and inspire them to create even more innovative works."
A public consultation exercise on these amendments to the Copyright Act is now underway. IPOS welcomes the public to view the consultation documents and provide feedback at the IPOS' website (http://www.ipos.gov.sg/AboutIP/IPLegislation/PublicConsultations.aspx) or the REACH consultation portal (www.reach.gov.sg).
Written comments can be submitted to:
Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS)
51 Bras Basah Road #04-01