ACB Commends Senate on WIPO Treaty Introduction

For Immediate Release
Contact: Anthony Stephens
ACB Commends Senate on WIPO Treaty Introduction
WASHINGTON (March 15, 2018) – The American Council of the Blind commends the United States Senate on today’s introduction of the Marrakesh Treaty Implementation Act (S. 2559). This legislation will pave the way for ratification of 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,” said ACB President Kim Charlson.
Charlson, who is the Director of Library Services for the Perkins School for the Blind, has worked and advocated extensively on this issue.
“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.
The American Council of the Blind is the nation’s leading grassroots consumer organization representing Americans who are blind and visually impaired.  With 70 affiliates, ACB strives to increase the independence, security, equality of opportunity, and to improve quality of life for all blind and visually impaired people. Together, we make a bright future. Learn more by visiting