Blind Bargains

Many US blindness organizations Sign Letter of Support for the Marrakesh Treaty

Many stakeholders who support those requiring written materials in a specialized format have put their names behind the Marrakesh Treaty. The American Council of the Blind, American Foundation for the Blind, Benitech, Learning Ally, National Federation of the Blind, and the Perkins School for the blind are among the organizations lending their support.

The Marrakesh Treaty would facilitate the more rapid production of materials in a specialized format for individuals who have a print disability. Even with access to resources such as Book Share,, NLS, Learning Ally, and many more, the amount of materials in an accessible format remains low, even in the United States. If Congress agrees to sign this treaty, it would require the government to have an exception to their copyright law. This exception would permit individuals, organizations, and agencies to produce materials in specialized formats for people with reading disabilities without needing to get permission from the publisher first. Specialized formats include, but are not limited to, DAISY, BRF, or braille embossed versions of written materials protected under the copyright law.

This treaty also gives people and organizations the right to share content in specialized formats with their counterparts in other countries which have also signed the treaty. This means that someone who produces an accessible version of a written piece in South Africa, for example, could legally share it with someone in Australia or in the United States. This would prevent duplication of work, and would allow those with print disabilities to have access to more materials and resources worldwide in a more timely manor.

If you are interested in reading more about this treaty in not-so-technical terms, the World Blind Union has explained and summarized the treaty. A copy of the letter requesting "Rapid ratification" of the Marrakesh Treaty can be found at the source link below.

Source: NFB
Category: News
Displaying 2 comments.
darknexus Monday, 07-Mar-2016 11:37 AM ET:

The only problem with the specialized format bit is that these organizations want to produce everything in DAISY, rather than a mainstream format like EPub which is more versatile. So-called specialized formats limit what devices we can use to access the material, and the methods we can use to do so. Otherwise I support this initiative wholeheartedly.

darknexus Tuesday, 08-Mar-2016 09:33 AM ET:

Something just occurred to me. The ACB and NFB are actually agreeing on something. Coupled with Microsoft releasing SQL Server for Linux of all things, I really feel like I blinked and, in that small space of time, completely missed the apocalypse. I really wanted to see it, too.

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