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US joins Marrakesh Treaty on book accessibility for the print disabled

The US has become the 50th member to join the Marrakesh Treaty in a move that will see an estimated 550,000 additional books available to the blind and print disabled.

The Marrakesh Treaty, which was negotiated and adopted by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in 2013, requires countries to enact international copyright exceptions that allow authorised entities (such as libraries) to create copies of accessible-format works and distribute them across international borders. It includes works in braille, as well as audio and digital files.

WIPO director general Francis Gurry said in a statement: ‘The Marrakesh Treaty is WIPO’s fastest-growing treaty and we hope it becomes a universal one soon, so visually impaired people in every corner of the globe can more easily benefit from learning and culture no matter where it is created. The US already houses the world’s largest repository of accessible English-language material, representing a major increase in the global resource base for visually impaired people living in countries that have joined the Marrakesh Treaty.’

The US-based National Federation of the Blind estimates that 550,000 accessible texts will become available to blind and print-disabled persons living in countries that have joined the Marrakesh Treaty, once the treaty takes effect in the US in three months’ time.



Category: Library news International