Blind SA released a statement saying they have proceeded to approach the Constitutional Court for legal action against President Cyril Ramaphosa, the Minister of Trade and Industry and the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation with regards to the Copyright Amendment Bill (CAB).
Blind SA says that in the 14 months that the CAB has been with the President to approve its adoption, it has lagged the progress on having information in accessible formats such as braille, daisy, large print and audio. The CAB outlines exceptions on how copyrighted material can be converted into formats for visually impaired people. This delay, the NPO says, is violating the basic rights of blind people.
The NPO says that this also delays the adoption of the Marrakesh Treaty in South Africa. The Marrakesh Treaty is administered by the World Intellectual Property Organisation and outlines limitations and exceptions to traditional copyright law. This is to ease the production and distribution of materials adapted for visually-impaired people.
“When South Africa ratifies the Marrakesh Treaty, blind people in this country may have access to over 700 000 books in braille, daisy and ePub formats that have hitherto been inaccessible to them,” Blind SA says.
The NPO wants President Ramaphosa to sign the bill that has already been approved by Parliament and the National Council of Provinces. Ten days after the bill is passed by the President, Blind SA requires the Department of International Relations and Cooperation to pass the Marrakesh Treaty.
The organisation says that, out of published works, blind people in South Africa have access to only 0.5% thereof. Blind SA says that the President’s delay has caused an unnecessary lack of literature available, they demand immediate action to resolve this problem.