Addressing the Proposed WIPO International Instrument on Limitations and Exceptions for Persons with Print Disabilities: Recommendation or Mandatory Treaty?

28 Pages Posted: 15 Nov 2011  

Margot E. Kaminski

Ohio State University (OSU) - Michael E. Moritz College of Law; Yale University - Yale Information Society Project; Yale University - Law School

Shlomit Yanisky-Ravid

Yale Law School; ONO Academic College; Yale University - Information Society Project; Fordham University, School of Law

Date Written: November 14, 2011

Abstract

This Working Paper addresses the proposed WIPO International Instrument on Limitations and Exceptions for Persons with Print Disabilities. We conclude that if WIPO wants to achieve compliance, this proposed instrument should be binding hard law. Enacting this agreement as soft law would undermine the goal of making copyrighted works accessible to persons with print disabilities.

Generally, hard law prevents instruments from becoming dead letter agreements. Soft law is a less appropriate solution where there is already consensus and specificity, as there is here. Soft law also creates inefficiencies, as countries try to determine how to satisfy its vaguer aspirations.

In the human rights context, because the UN Convention on Persons with Disabilities has not been implemented domestically, soft law will fail to mobilize domestic actors. Soft law also will not be sufficiently strong to protect the human rights of people with disabilities, traditionally a weaker sector.

In the international copyright context, hard law is necessary because of the complicated web of existing hard law in the field. If WIPO wishes for the proposed instrument to counter hard law established in other forums, it should make the instrument binding. Otherwise, developing countries will not implement the instrument, and WIPO will fail to reach those persons with print disabilities most in need of an international solution.

Keywords: WIPO, Treaty for Persons with Print Disabilities, Three-Step Test, Limitations and Exceptions, Fair Use, Treaty for the Blind

Suggested Citation

Kaminski, Margot E. and Yanisky-Ravid, Shlomit, Addressing the Proposed WIPO International Instrument on Limitations and Exceptions for Persons with Print Disabilities: Recommendation or Mandatory Treaty? (November 14, 2011). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1959694 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1959694

Margot E. Kaminski (Contact Author)

Ohio State University (OSU) - Michael E. Moritz College of Law ( email )

55 West 12th Avenue
Columbus, OH 43210
United States

Yale University - Yale Information Society Project ( email )

127 Wall Street
New Haven, CT 06511
United States

Yale University - Law School ( email )

P.O. Box 208215
New Haven, CT 06520-8215
United States

Shlomit Yanisky-Ravid

Yale Law School ( email )

127 Wall Street
New Haven, CT 06511
United States

ONO Academic College ( email )

Tzahal Street 104
Kiryat Ono, 55000
Israel

Yale University - Information Society Project ( email )

P.O. Box 208215
New Haven, CT 06520-8215
United States

Fordham University, School of Law ( email )

140 West 62nd Street
New York, NY 10023
United States

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