U.S. Senate Advances Marrakesh Treaty

June 29th, 2018 by Brant Adams

ST. LOUIS, June 29, 2018 — The American Council of the Blind commends the United States Senate on the eve of ACB’s 57th national convention after the Senate passed through unanimous consent the Marrakesh Treaty Implementation Act (S. 2559). Their action ratifies through the “Advice and Consent of the Senate this landmark treaty agreed upon by the World Intellectual Property Organization in 2013.”

“Passage of the Marrakesh Treaty by the Senate sets the stage for the United States to play a major role in ending the global shortage of accessible books for people who are blind or have other print-reading disabilities,” said ACB President Kim Charlson. “As we gather in this Gateway City five years after Marrakesh was introduced to the world, we’re excited by the new frontier that lies ahead for the tens of millions of people who are blind worldwide who had challenges gaining access to accessible written material.”

ACB has been actively involved with advocating for the treaty’s principles and was represented in Marrakesh on June 27, 2013 when the final document was passed by WIPO. Commonly referred to as the Marrakesh Treaty, it aims to facilitate access to materials in a specialized format to eligible individuals. The final step necessary for the U.S. to begin participating in the sharing of accessible books is passage of S.2559 by the U.S. House of Representatives, which will fine tune the necessary copyright provisions to allow for the exchange of such materials.

“Having received unanimous consent in the Senate, we believe that the House of Representatives has no reason to hold up passage of the minor amendments to U.S. copyright law,” said ACB executive director Eric Bridges. “ACB stands committed to working with the other nations that have already ratified the treaty, assuring that accessible materials can begin to be made available for both Americans living abroad and other individuals who are blind seeking published works from the United States.”

To learn more, visit www.wipo.int/treaties/en/ip/marrakesh/.