This was the letter that I sent to the UK Consultation Advisory Group:

To: Mr. DG, Policy Official

Hello Sir — I am a US Library of Congress and Director of the (very small) US 501c3 Non Profit (NGO)

At Section 7.175 of your Consultation report it states:

7.175 Apart from the provision that allows people to make individual accessible copies of works they own, the disability exceptions do not apply if a licensing scheme is in force.

Re: 7.175 That is not the wording in the UK Copyright (VIP) Act 2002 which states that at

“Visual impairment”

31A – Making a single accessible copy for personal use:(1)If a visually impaired person has lawful possession or lawful use of a copy (“the master copy”) …

In addition, the RNIB itself which participated in the drafting of the 2002 Act says on its website (as of today):

There are two parts to the new Act:
  • one-for-one copies
  • multiple copies.

One-for-one copies

If you are visually impaired, you can make, or ask anyone to make for you, a single accessible copy of anything of which you have “lawful possession” or “lawful use”.

This can cover anything that you have bought, been given or lent, or that is held in a library that you are eligible to use.

I also note that at 7.165 you say:

7.165 Although UK law does not explicitly prevent such accessible works being exported to other countries, licensing schemes that cover this exception do limit use to the EU.

I have — as per Section 31A and works under UK Copyright — been telling people that for years.

Thank you. John Edwin Miller

I wrote 25 FEB 2012 the following to some of the usual suspects involved in the WIPO SCCR Copyright Exceptions for Print Disability proceedings and deliberations:

Hello All —

I wrote on VisionIP as regards exports and UK (VIP)Act 2002:

June 25, 2010 at 12:52 am

Nowhere is it further stipulated under 31A that the end-user must be a citizen of the UK… only that the end-user have lawful access… matters of end-user citizenship only come into play under licenses granted under Paragraph 31B for NGOs.

In the December 2011 UK Copyright Consultation at 7.165 it states

7.165 Although UK law does not explicitly prevent such accessible works being exported to other countries, licensing schemes that cover this exception do limit use to the EU.

In his wrap-up for SCCR 23 the dis-passionate Bill New described the proceedings for SCCR 23/7 as having become ‘unravelled’.

When will you all in the disability rights community stop trying to negotiate for a treaty or any incarnation of enhanced rights for the visually or otherwise print disabled based upon your human rights portfolio and start negotiating as a business issue wherein the strongest negotiating point in your arsenal is the rights you already have but choose not to exploit.

… or as your colleague Jamie Love was told at WIPO SCCR 17 no less:

“This isn’t the human rights commission, — this is WIPO.”

Regards/ John E Miller (JEM)


BTW From the David Mamet screenplay for The Verdict – James Mason at his vilest as Ed Concannon:

Ed Concannon: I know how you feel. You don’t believe me, but I do know. I’m going to tell you      something that I learned when I was your age.

I’d prepared a case and old man White said to me, “How did you do?” And, uh, I said, “Did my best.” And he said,

   “You’re not paid to do your best. You’re paid to win.”

This is an Addendum

(Response from Mr. Dan Pescod which I will summarize as the RNIB claims confidentiality and possibly privileged information as to the content of their email communications)

UK Export of copyrighted naterials in accessible format? Maybe Yes – Maybe no. However what happens in the UK stays in the UK – we are concerned with this issue on a global scale.

Even though the Universal Declaration on Human Rights (UDHR) and the UN Convention on Persons with Disabilities (CPWD) are both non-binding agreements, we will continue to unabashedly and unashamedly remind persons in WIPO Member Delegations that they are under some dutiful obligation to act upon a legal instrument affirming these rights.

 My reply Feb 28, 2012 :

Hello Dan — Thank you very much for your reply. I have followed your interventions at WIPO for several years now. I appreciate the hard work you and others have put into this Treaty issue.

If you believe that a –

“call for these member states to respect disabled people’s human rights, as outlined in the Convention, by putting in place a law to remove copyright barriers”

 — will yield the treaty or other instrument you desire, you should stay-the-course.

Personally, I believe such an approach has to date been non-functional but there is always a chance for a break-through in JULY 2012.

I would note the banner on the IPA website ‘Copyright’ page:

“Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author.”
Article 27.2 – Universal Declaration of Human Rights

So one could easily ask why your rights should trump someone else’s.

You are attempting a Treaty which your colleague Chris Friend described on the DAISY Planet website as ‘ground-breaking’. The WIPO SCCR 23/7 proposal as currently structured will grant copyright exception to a significant component of the world’s population no matter which number or percentage you use for the qualifying beneficiaries. The SCCR 23/7 is about the same length and has more definitions than the entire WIPO Copyright Treaty of 1996.

I wrote on

Corollary: If You Can’t Sue Them, Get Them To Sue You.

I have been reviewing the last 4 WIPO SCCR interventions by the US National Federation of the Blind (NFB). They have employed the words ‘urge’, ‘call upon’, ‘encouraged’, ‘reiterate the need’, etc. If you know about the NFB in the USA, they do not use those words: They are a highly litigious organization and will sue you if they have any justifiable legal grounds.

I have never suggested that existing IP laws such as UK VIPA , or Chafee in USA, or those Braille exceptions in Japan and China are an end in themselves but can be used if properly exploited as a bargaining chip in further negotiations.

You can remind persons all you want of the non-binding UN CPWD or UDHR resolutions that have been signed. If you think that a Treaty will result because the Group ‘B’ countries and IPA, IFRRO, etc. will all-of-a-sudden have an epiphany or change of heart, I would suggest  that you will have many more pleasant excursions to Geneva before that may come to pass.

Regards, JEM

BTW My 22 JAN 2012 Twitter post:

How many mentions in Sullivan Report Annex 2 & 3 ‘National Law’ survey? Braille=82 DAISY=0


I then sent the following email to Mr. Stephen King, RNIB Group Director – Prevention and International Affairs who is also the current President of The DAISY Consortium —

Dear Sir — I today read this comment of yours on

This is still unfinished business, but I’m quietly confident there is going to be a new copyright treaty that addresses access for people who have a print disability in the next couple of years, along with a whole new relationship with the publishing industry.

I truly hope that you are right — but I believe that will only come to fruition with a marked change of strategy amongst (yourselves), the EU/WBU and other advocates.

… Which prompted the following final reply from Mr. Pescod as he so assured me. He was firm but polite however just to make it brief the gist of the reply was —

Buzz off!

My final email (#3) to Mr. Pescod copied to Mr. Stephen King –

Hello Mr. Pescod — I understand — I generally do not expect any reply at all. I just want to be on the record. What prompted my recent contact (were) the comments in the UK Copyright Consultation on exports of copyrighted material — you seemed indifferent.

I make no personal judgment; I only look at results of which there has been a paucity. You may be on the verge of some tremendous breakthrough of which for confidentiality reasons you are unable to discuss. I will give you the benefit of that —

— however barring some great breakthrough of which you cannot divulge, I will just say if you were the Manager of a UK football club, you would have (been) fired a long time ago. / JEM