Uganda Registration Service Bureau URSB is introducing a new law that will enable people with eyesight defects to access more printed information.
The new law is delivered from The Marrakesh Treaty that was signed in 2016 between countries that subscribe to the World Intellectual Property Organisation, of which Uganda was part.
According to Jane Okot, the deputy Registrar General URSB, the current Copyright and Neighboring Rights Act (2016) demands that for any copyrighted reading material to be translated, or prescribed to any other formats, one needs authority from the Author as well as financial rights which is limiting the people with eyesight disabilities from accessing information because no one is transcribing the information to a format that is favorable to them.
“We are going to domesticate the Marrakesh Treaty so that it is applied locally. What the new law will achieve is to allow institutions and any other stakeholder concerned with people with Eyesight disability to change any printed information they find presume useful into a format that is favorable to this kind of disadvantaged people without seeking authority from the authors,” she said.
She added “URSB is creating the legal ground that will enable learning institutions, NGO’s and any other stakeholder that might be interested in uplifting right to information for the eyesight disabled like the blind, visually impaired and the print disabled”
Mrs Okot was speaking Thursday at a consultative workshop on domestication of the Marrakesh Treaty organised by URSB at Hotel Africana for the eyesight disabled people to collect their views on how the law can be well formulated to fit their needs.
Wamala Francis Lawyer who has an eye defect and cannot see said her was barred from attending Uganda Law Development Center because he didn’t have the machine that would enable him to read any learning materials
He wants government to consider giving financial help to people with disabilities that are willing to advance their studies and knowledge by providing the enabling environment and equipment for them.
Dr. Anthony Kakooza the Dean Faculty of Law at UCU Mukono and an associate at SIPI Law Associates said that learning institutions have been finding it hard to admit or teach people with eye disabilities due to lack of the right learning and writing machines
“This law will go a long way in improving the Right to Access of information for the disabled. I urge authors of academic books to always consider putting up copies for people with eye problems. These kind of people also have a right to read the printed information” he said.