Breaking

PWDs Push for Amendment of Copyright Law

The law provides for the protection of literary, scientific and artistic intellectual works and their neighboring rights. But Persons with Disabilities argue that, in its current state, the law restricts conversion of any print text to a readable format for people with visual impairment unless they get permission from authors.
A pair of blind elders being helped to attend International White Cane Day at Kasana Playground in Luweero town

Audio 3

Persons with Disabilities have called for the amendment of the Copyright and Neighboring Rights Act, to enable persons with visual impairment overcome barriers of accessing print materials.

The law provides for the protection of literary, scientific and artistic intellectual works and their neighboring rights. But Persons with Disabilities argue that, in its current state, the law restricts conversion of any print text to a readable format for people with visual impairment unless they get permission from authors.

Grace Night, the Vice Chairperson of the National Union of Disabled Persons of Uganda (NUDIPU) explains that the provisions are against the Marrakesh VIP Treaty which offers copyright exceptions for the creation of accessible versions of books and other copyrighted works for visually impaired persons.

Uganda ratified the treaty in April 2018. According to Night, efforts to have the treaty ratified were informed by the fact that there are not enough reading materials accessible to visually impaired persons in communities, which adversely affects their quality of life.

Night says that they want the law amended as soon as possible to allow libraries, organizations and individuals to reproduce the books in accessible formats without seeking permission from authors. Readable formats for blind persons include large print, braille, audio books and electronic texts that are read using screen magnifiers.

Kizito Ntege, the Chairperson of Uganda National Association of the Blind says that they risk lawsuits if they republish readable materials to cater for visually impaired persons under the current legal regime. Ntege also raised concern about the high cost of braille machines.

// Cue in; …"Nti era government…

Cue out…ne kumi"//

They were speaking during activities to commemorate the International White Cane Day held at Kasana Playground in Luweero town today. The White Cane Day is an international awareness raising event, used to celebrate the importance of the white cane, used by people who visually impaired as a tool for safe and reliable navigation, and promote a safe environment for long cane users.

This year's theme for the day was "Overcoming barriers of accessing print text by persons with visual impairments". According to World Blind Union, over 90 per cent of all published materials cannot be read by blind or print-disabled people.

Johnson Kamuhangire, the Nakaseke District Councillor for PWDs and Milly Kyazike, the Chairperson for Blind People in Luweero district say that apart from unavailable readable materials for visually impaired persons, the government has not recruited enough teachers for Special Needs Education.

Kamuhangire adds that lack of access to information has led the blind persons to miss out on several government programmes and other social services.

// Cue in; "Omuntu tasobola…

Cue out…okusomesa"//

Alex Ndeezi the Member of Parliament for PWDs (Central Region) says that access to information is a constitutional right and asked the Association of the Blind to come with proposed amendments to enable them to push for reforms.

// Cue in:" access to information…

Cue out;…mukino"//

Sophia Nalule Jjuuko, the National Female PWD representative in Parliament pledged to work with the Uganda National Association for the Blind to ensure that the amendments are made. She, however, says that she is mobilizing more braille machines to ensure children with visual impairment access reading materials.

The Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development sent no representative on the function to commemorate the International White Cane Day held in Luweero town.

Images 1

Keywords