The European Union will Wednesday sign the Marrakesh Treaty to facilitate access to published works for persons who are blind or visually impaired.
The treaty will ensure that books in formats such as Braille, large print, e-books and audio books with special navigation tools can be exchanged across borders not only within the EU but also between the EU and third countries, said an EU statement.
"Today's signature of the Marrakesh Treaty marks another important step on the road to full access for the visually impaired and print-disabled community to the same books as everyone else," commented EU Internal Market Commissioner Michel Barnier.
"The Marrakesh Treaty is not only of huge importance for visually impaired persons in Europe but also for potential beneficiaries living in developing countries." Between 17 and 28 June 2013, the World Intellectual Property Organisation which is the United Nations agency dedicated to the use of intellectual property , held a conference in Marrakech , Morocco, to conclude a Treaty to facilitate access to published works for persons who are blind, visually impaired, or otherwise print disabled.
The new Treaty allows organisations for blind people to produce, distribute and make available accessible format copies to visually impaired persons without the authorisation of the rightholder.
According to the World Blind Union, there are an estimated 285 million blind and partially sighted people living worldwide; most of them in developing countries and only 5 percent of published books are available in special formats today.
The statement said the objective of the EU, along with the World Blind Union, is to increase it to 100 percent. (end) nk.ibi