Three posts about today’s news are linked below.
The “books for blind” treaty entered into force on September 30, 2016, three months after it gained the necessary 20 ratifications or accessions by WIPO member states.
“This is a wonderful day for visually impaired people around the world, who will from today begin benefiting from an increase in number of texts tailored for their use,” said WIPO Director General Francis Gurry. “This is also an important victory for multilateralism and the international community, which showed its ability to come together to improve the lives of people around the world, bringing literacy and the opportunity of literacy to visually impaired persons worldwide.”
The Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled facilitates the creation and transfer across national boundaries of specially adapted books, such as Braille or large print, for use by visually impaired people that the World Health Organization estimates number 285 million worldwide, as well as millions of additional print-disabled persons.
See Also: The Marrakesh Treaty in Action (via WIPO)
The treaty applies to countries that are party to it – at the time of writing, 22 states. With every new country that joins, we are a step closer to ending the book famine – the fact that only 7% of published works are made available globally in accessible formats. In the developing world, where 90% of blind and visually impaired people live, the figure is less than 1%.
The IPA also cofounded the Accessible Books Consortium (ABC), with the World Intellectual Property Organization(WIPO), the World Blind Union (WBU) and the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA). The ABC’s goal is to complement the Marrakesh Treaty by increasing the number of accessible format books worldwide.
According to the WBU, less than 5% of the million or so books published each year in the world are made available in formats accessible to visually impaired persons. And the World Health Organization says there are more than 314 million blind and visually impaired persons in the world, 90 per cent of them in developing countries. Innovation and technological advancement provide the best avenue to increasing literary accessibility long term, while measures such as those provided in the Marrakesh Treaty offer greater access to works in the short to medium term.
Read the Complete Statement