Dots and Dashes for 3/1/19

“Dots and Dashes” is a short newsletter featuring a variety of topics and ACB stories. This issue features a reminder on membership updates, the results of the World Blind Union’s Audio Description Survey, the USA is the 50th signer to the Marrakesh Treaty, information about the next board of publications meeting, WBU Audio Description Survey results, and the latest Advocacy Updates.


Membership Updates Reminder

A reminder to all affiliates: March 15th is the last day to submit AMMS additions, deletions, or changes until May 1, 2019.  After March 15, AMMS will be frozen for about 45 days; no further change requests from affiliates will be processed. Our offices need time to enter all pre-March 15th AMMS requests before the certification reports can be reviewed by each user and submitted. 

Those of you who have been working on your affiliate’s membership updates, thank you. Sharon Lovering has entered everything she has received up to this point. But there are a number of affiliates we haven’t seen many, or any, updates from yet. If your affiliate has made a change in the person responsible for membership, please contact Sharon in the national office ASAP!


USA Joins WIPO’s Marrakesh Treaty as 50th Member

ACB joins all of its U.S. partner organizations in celebrating the final diplomatic step for the ratification of the Marrakesh Treaty with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in Geneva, Switzerland on February 8, 2019. ACB president Kim Charlson is a member of the Board of Directors of the Accessible Books Consortium, the WIPO entity working on implementation of the treaty. She is also working with the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped/Library of Congress in planning for the implementation of the treaty in the U.S.

The World Intellectual Property Organization issued a statement on February 8, 2019 from its headquarters in Geneva announcing that the United States has become the 50th member of the Marrakesh Treaty. Because the European Union comprises 28 states, the number of countries now adhering to the treaty comes to 78.

The official notification ratification document from Washington signed by Donald Trump has been accepted by WIPO Director Francis Gurry, with Mark Cassayre, the Chargé d’Affaires for the American mission to the United Nations’ installation in Geneva.

And with that, as many as 550,000 accessible texts have become immediately available to visually impaired people in the countries that have signed the treaty. A full list of those countries is here.


Board of Publications Meeting

ACB’s Board of Publications will meet on Tuesday, March 12, at 9 p.m. Eastern. The dial-in number is (218) 862-4569, and the passcode is 841831#.


WBU Audio Description Survey Results

To read the full report from this survey, go to

A new international survey reveals that audio description (AD) is an important assistive technology worldwide providing access to people who are blind or have low vision to the arts and many other visually-rich events.

The new international AD survey (69 countries and the Pacific Disability Forum) finds that:

  • 67% of respondents said that AD is available in the respondent’s country;
  • cinema, television, live performing arts, and DVDs lead the list of the type of AD experiences available (followed by museums, the web, smartphones, in educational settings and in visitors’ centers);
  • almost 45% said that AD is required by law (64% of those respondents reported that it was required for broadcast television); and
  • 99% of respondents said that they believe AD or more AD should be available.

The World Blind Union and the American Council of the Blind are long-time supporters of the growth of AD.  Both groups are eager to learn more about the use of AD by people who are blind or have low vision in its member nations, including some of the barriers to its use.  (The World Health Organization reports that an estimated 253 million people live with vision impairment.) 


Advocacy Updates 

Claire Stanley and Eric Bridges discuss this year’s leadership meetings in the February 11th edition of the Advocacy Update. They also review the three imperatives that will be discussed at the seminar and brought to Congress by our ACB members. Listen to this episode via your favorite podcast player, or online at

In the February 19th Advocacy Update, Claire Stanley speaks with ACB’s new Director of Advocacy and Governmental Affairs, Clark Rachfal, to learn more about him and what he will be doing at the national office. Listen at Email questions and comments to