UN initiative will transform the lives of millions of readers

October 7, 2015

It’s a sad fact that over 93% of books in the world are not published in accessible formats for blind, visually impaired or print disabled readers.

In June 2013, the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) adopted the Marrakesh Treaty to help solve this book famine which has become a human rights issue. Australia has signed the Marrakesh treaty and is in the process of ratifying it. The push is now on for existing collections of accessible format books for the visually impaired to be shared across borders.

The Accessible Books Consortium (ABC) is an alliance that comprises WIPO, organisations for people with print disabilities and organisations that represent authors and publishers. Its goal is to increase the number of books worldwide in accessible formats.

The ABC hosts a global database of accessible titles which libraries around the world can share through the cross-border exchange of rights between publishers and participating institutions. It eliminates the current problem of multiple copies of accessible files being created, at significant cost, when a single file can be shared.

The Copyright Agency is assisting the ABC to get clearances for Australian titles that have been requested by institutions assisting the print disabled in other countries. We also offer similar initiative with our Masters Catalogue. Find out more about Copyright for People with Disabilities here.

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