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PROCESSUS DE RÉFORME DU DROIT D'AUTEUR
SUGGESTIONS REÇUES RELATIVEMENT AUX DOCUMENTS DE CONSULTATION
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Suggestion de Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) reçue le 21 Septembre 2001 par courriel
Objet : Comments on Copyright Act Review
September 20 2001
Mr. Bruce Stockfish
Copyright Policy Branch
15 Eddy Street
BY FAX: 997-5685
Dear Mr. Stockfish,
The Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) assists over 100,000 blind, vision-impaired and deafblind Canadians to become
full participants in all aspects of Canadian society. It also assists an estimated 3,000,000 print disabled Canadians served through public libraries. Our mandate, as established when incorporated in 1918, is to ameliorate the condition of the blind of Canada; to prevent blindness; and to promote sight enhancement services.
The CNIB Library for the Blind constitutes one of seven core services provided to blind, vision-impaired and deafblind Canadians. As a result of CNIB library and information services, Canadians experiencing various degrees of vision loss obtain access to information in alternate formats ( for example braille and audio ). This information is indispensable for their literacy, educational, employment, recreational, cultural and other needs.
The CNIB Library for the Blind distributes annually over 1.3 million books in Braille and audio format, and a further 500,000 electronic newspapers and books. Further, the CNIB is currently actively
working to achieve the all-important transition from analog to digital production methods. This way, and through the use of digital transmission, the CNIB will enhance significantly the library and information services it provides to millions of print-disabled Canadians.
The Copyright Act exemptions, set out in Section 32, have facilitated the production of ever increasing numbers of alternate format material by the CNIB. The exemptions have, therefore, contributed greatly to enhanced availability of alternate format materials, and library and information services.
It is our position that the current round of copyright review should not in any way constrain the exemptions set out in S. 32. For example, any encryption techniques developed and adapted should be implemented in such a way so as to fully respect both the letter and the spirit of S. 32.
As you may know, recently, in an effort to enhance library services to print-disabled Canadians, the National Library of Canada and the CNIB set up a Task Force which prepared a report called Fulfilling the Promise. As a result of this report, the National Librarian has set up the Council on Access to Information for Print-Disabled Canadians for the purpose of assisting him with the implementation of Fulfilling the Promise. The CNIB supports close collaboration between the Departments of Canadian Heritage and Industry Canada, and the Access Council, in pursuit of the implementation of Fulfilling the Promise, generally, and in matters related to Copyright Review in particular.
One of the recommendations of Fulfilling the Promise (Recommendation 5) states:
"The Task Force recommends that Canadian Heritage seek an amendment to Section 32 of the Copyright Act to include exemption for large print publications."
In view of the increasing number of Print-Disabled Canadians requiring and utilizing large-print materials, the CNIB is
recommending that an exemption with respect to the production of large-print material be now placed under active consideration. In support of this recommendation, the CNIB cites the following:
- The aging of the Canadian population ( For example, according to the latest data, one in three Canadians over the age of 65 will experience macular degeneration )
- Between 75 and 80 % of CNIB clients utilize large-print materials, sometimes in conjunction with other alternate formats.
- The CNIB Library for the Blind has recently experienced significant demand for large-print materials.
In conclusion, I would like to state that our position, as set out herein, in support of consolidating and extending Section 32 of the Copyright Act is intended to ensure that more alternate format materials be available faster to more people.
We believe that the exemption in S. 32 constitutes the backbone of the library and information system for perceptually-disabled Canadians, a system which should be supplemented by commercially available materials. It must be noted , however, that up to this point, the number of full-length alternate format, commercially available Canadian materials has remained insignificant. In any given year no more than 10 such unabridged titles would be published commercially in an accessible format. Consequently, the CNIB Library for the Blind and the Public Library Services Branch of British Columbia remain the major producers of accessible Canadian literature.
In closing, I would like to express the hope that the government of Canada will continue to consult with the CNIB and other stakeholders with respect to the Copyright Act. The CNIB would be pleased to share with the government of Canada its experience and understanding the complex issues involved in this matter.
Government Relations and International Liaison
Canadian National Institute for the Blind
C.c. Mr. James Sanders, Vice-President, Client Services and Technology, CNIB
Ms. Rosemary Kavanagh, Executive Director, CNIB Library
Ms. Gwynneth Evans, Director General, National and International Programs, National Library of Canada
Mr. Chris Peppler, Director, Public Library Services Branch of British Columbia
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