Frequently Asked Questions

Copyright questions

I thought it was illegal to send alternative media across international boarders?
For more that 50 years it was common place for accessible media to be shared by libraries for the blind world wide. Indeed in 1992 a book entitled Interlibrary Loan of Alternative Format Materials1 was published which outlined how these materials should be accessed from various Braille and talking book libraries world wide.

It was only with the advent of digital media that the idea has arisen that such exchanges are not permitted under law. However in almost all cases no change has been made to national copyright law which have remained silent on the issue. Further no case law exists in this matter.

We maintain that which was once legal remains legal and that alternative formatted materials enjoy the same copyright protections internationally that they always have under the Berne Convention. So long as the materials are circulated only to those persons qualified under the various national copyright act which provide for these works to be accessed by blind and print disabled readers.

1 Massis, Bruce E., Vitzansky, Winnie, Editors Interlibrary Loan of Alternative Format Materials Binghamton, New York. Haworth Press, 1992. ISBN 1560243945

How does the Commonwealth fit into this?
Most of our members come from Commonwealth nations or nations with a close legal, cultural, historic or linguistic ties to the Commonwealth. Such nations share legal and cultural traditions which aid in the exchange of materials. Most of these nations were party to the exchange of materials in the past.

Business Questions

How does the Cooperative work?
the Commonwealth Braille & Talking Book Cooperative is a true cooperative of willing members. The degree to which a member takes part is up to that member. Some are very active and and others less so.

How does the exchange of materials work?
One of the first activities of the cooperative is to develop methods of finding who has produced a title. This effort is ongoing in several front. Some cooperative members are also WIPO Trusted Intermediaries other work with in our federated search system for listing books.

Once a member finds another member has a title they are in need of they contact the holding institution to arrange a transfer of titles. Some members have established online servers, some may need to deal with a request on a per book basis. Sadly not all titles held by members will be accessible a condition we hop can be corrected in the future.

What formats are exchanged?
Generally electronic Braille and Daisy Digital Talking Book formats are exchanged.

What are the benefits of membership?
Perhaps the biggest benifit to membership is to find if someone already has a book done so that duplication of production does not happen. Members can also use the cooperative to find a particular title a patron or student might need. The cooperative members also develop from time to time applications and services useful to the whole group.

What is the cost to join?
As a true cooperative with no formal governing structure there is no cost to join.

Other Questions

Where do I get more information?
More information can be found at the cooperative’s home page: www.cbtbc.org or by email at info@cbtbc.org