As we head into the Independence Day Holiday weekend, METRO would like to take a moment to congratulate Carrie Russell, director for ALA's Office for Information Technology Policy Program on Public Access to Information, as well as the American Library Association at large for their dedicated work on the Treaty for the Blind, a resolution passed by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in Morocco last Wednesday, June 27.
In a rare exception to the rights of copyright holders, this treaty will enhance access to books to the benefit of more than 314 million blind and visually impaired people around the the world, ninety per cent of whom live in developing countries. The Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons who are Blind, Visually Impaired, or Otherwise Print Disabled "requires contracting parties to adopt national law provisions that permit the reproduction, distribution, and making available of published works in accessible formats through limitation and exceptions to the rights of copyright holders," according to a press release on WIPO's website.
In ALA's press release on the treaty, Russell is quoted: “by passing what is an exception to copyright, the World Intellectual Property Organization demonstrated that there is international support for balance in copyright law. We applaud the world delegates for approving a treaty that makes it possible for every visually-impaired person around the world to have fair access to reading materials."
Read more about this landmark treaty at ALA OITP's District Dispatch blog.