by Kim Charlson
The American Council of the Blind was pleased to announce in March the introduction of the Marrakesh Treaty Implementation Act (S. 2559). The legislation, introduced by Sens. Grassley, Feinstein, Hatch, Corker, Harris and Menendez, demonstrates the current bipartisan support for improving access to print material around the world by individuals who are blind or have other print disabilities.
At the time this issue went to press, the Senate was slated to hold a hearing on the treaty, where it could be voted out of committee. It would then require a two-thirds majority of the U.S. Senate to fully enact the treaty.
Once passed, it will implement the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Treaty. The treaty will help to overcome the current accessible media shortage around the world for people who are blind or who have other print disabilities.
We’re extremely excited that the Senate Committees on Judiciary and Foreign Relations have come together in a bipartisan manner to tackle the book famine existing across the globe for people who are blind and trying to obtain accessible materials. As a librarian, I’m far too familiar with the hurdles individuals who are blind in other countries face when trying to get books in braille or in audio formats from international publishers. Those obstacles will be wiped away as more and more countries ratify the treaty.
ACB has been actively involved with treaty advocacy since its inception and was represented in Marrakesh on June 27, 2013 when the final treaty document was passed by WIPO. Commonly referred to as the Marrakesh Treaty, it aims to facilitate access to materials in a specialized format to eligible individuals. Publishers, libraries, and authorized entities would then cooperate to support acquisition of accessible materials from a wide variety of international sources. It is estimated that only 5 percent of printed materials around the world are available in an accessible format. The Marrakesh Treaty will help improve the coordination and availability of accessible materials by removing copyright restraints that have previously made it difficult to share U.S. published works abroad in alternative formats.
- President’s Message: Marrakesh Treaty Moves Forward in Senate
President’s Message: Marrakesh Treaty Moves Forward in Senate
by Kim Charlson