Delegates at the recent World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) diplomatic conference in Morocco ended with delegates agreeing to sign a treaty on copyright for people who are blind or have other print disabilities.
The treaty – the first of its kind to benefit the public interest rather than the interest of rights holders – will enable cross-border sharing of accessible books between organisations and directly from organisations to individuals who are blind or have other print disabilities, preventing the need to duplicate production in different countries.
Vision Australia’s Maryanne Diamond said the treaty, which will come into force three months after being ratified by 20 States, was a huge step forward.
Of the 285 million people in the world who are blind or have low vision, the 80 per cent who live in developing countries have access to less than one per cent of published books. Even in developed countries like Australia, only five per cent of published books are available in suitable formats.