On Wednesday, April 18, 2018, 10:30am EDT, the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee will hold a hearing on the Marrakesh Treaty Implementation Act. The treaty allows for the sharing of accessible reading materials for people with print disabilities across international boarders.
If the Marrakesh Treaty Implementation Act is passed and signed by the president, the bill will greatly increase access for English speakers with print disabilities, especially in developing countries, where less than 1% of all published print content is accessible. The US will benefit as well by being able to obtain foreign-language content, especially for Spanish speakers with print disabilities.
The American Library Association (ALA) first became involved in advocating for an exception for the print-disabled back in 2008, when ALA’s Washington Office collaborated with the Library Copyright Alliance (LCA), which includes the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) and the Association of Research Libraries (ARL), to apply for and be granted official nongovernmental status to attend and make position statements at World Intellectual Property Organization meetings. For the next five years, LCA provided input to the US delegation and partnered on advocacy efforts with the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions, World Blind Union, National Federation of the Blind (NFB), and other associations for people with print disabilities. When the treaty was adopted in 2013 at an international diplomatic conference in Marrakesh, it was hailed as the “Miracle in Marrakesh,” (American Libraries Magazine, 2018). Read the full article here.
Interested parties can watch the hearing from the following link: https://www.foreign.senate.gov/hearings