VIP Stakeholders Dialogue

The Green Paper on Copyright in the Knowledge Economy of July contained a chapter on persons with disabilities pointing out the importance of providing accessible content to the visually impaired persons (VIP) community and the remaining obstacles in Europe to achieve this objective. As a follow up of the Green Paper, the Communication on Copyright in the Knowledge Economy of October 2009 identified as a following step the organisation of a stakeholder forum to consider the range of issues facing persons with disabilities and possible policy responses. In November 2009, the European Parliament organised a workshop on orphan works and access for visually impaired people..
Starting in December 2010, the European Commission (Copyright Unit) organised a series of meetings of the dialogue between representatives of visually impaired and the right holder communities.
The MoU was signed on 14 September 2010 in the presence of Commissioner Barnier; the signatories include EBU, EDA (European Dyslexic Association), EWC, IFRRO, STM and FEP. It foresees that accessible copies created under national copyright exceptions can be transferred in the EU, after receiving a license at national level, through the network of TIs. Furthermore it recommends specific licenses allowing the cross-border transfer in the EU of licensed accessible copies, through the network of TIs.
Work ensued to establish a network of TIs, ETIN – The European Trusted Intermediary Network, although the EBU withdrew from the project in early 2011. The first kick-off meeting took place in April 2011 and several Trusted Intermediaries joined the efforts to set up the network, despite the withdrawal of EBU.
In September 2011, a model licence/agreement was agreed upon by rightholders and trusted intermediaries and in April 2012 by-laws for a ETIN European Board were finalised. A face-to-face meeting took place in February 2012 gathering new Trusted Intermediaries wishing to join ETIN. Representatives of TIGAR, an international project of files exchanges between trusted intermediaries, set up at WIPO level, took part in order to coordinate both projects.
Meanwhile, in Geneva, discussions are taking place on an instrument for the VIP.

  • FEP organised a meeting on access for the VIP on 7th April 2011 with the organisations still willing to work on the implementation of the MoU on a technical basis in order to discuss the next steps.
  • On 13th April 2011, FEP took part in a meeting at the EP on “Fair access to culture and the right to read of visually impaired persons - Exceptions and limitations to copyright with regard to libraries, education and print disabled persons”.
  • On 31st May 2011, FEP participated in a meeting at DG Internal Market with the VIP organisations willing to continue the cooperation.
  • FEP drafted together with IFRRO the model licence/agreement as well as the by-laws for the European board of ETIN, recognising agreements at national level between rightholders, RROs and Trusted Intermediaries.
  • FEP actively sought to involve its members in the work of ETIN and to have them work with Trusted Intermediaries at national level too.
  • FEP took part to a coordination dialogue with TIGAR, attending regular conference calls. FEP co-drafted a paper on the relationship between TIGAR and ETIN.
  • FEP drafted a letter to Commissioner Kroes in order to ask for financial support to improve chances to make ETIN sustainable on the long run.
  • On 29th February 2012, FEP answered the consultation on a European Accessibility Act, highlighting publishers actions in the field of developing standards such as ePub3 and their collaboration with the DAISY consortium whilst working on ETIN to complement the gaps of a single European digital market for the visually impaired persons.
  • FEP has been coordinating with IPA on the debate on access to works for the VIP at WIPO. FEP regularly gave feedbacks from the European and international community to the Commission negotiating at WIPO.
  • FEP wrote a letter to Commissioner Barnier, ahead of the WIPO negotiations, to convey publishers’ view and assures that he will seek a balanced approach as he declared.
  • FEP met with the Polish and Danish presidency to present publishers’ views in the context of the WIPO discussions.
  • FEP wrote to several MEPs who signed a petition asking the Commission to sign a treaty at WIPO for the VIP to inform them about publishers’ position who wish to have a balanced text respecting their efforts to make available on equal terms in terms of timing and price of accessible e-books (thanks to ePub3 and DAISY).