06:00 PM

AAP Pleased with Bipartisan Support of Marrakesh Treaty

For over a decade, AAP has worked closely with the U.S. government, WIPO officials and Member States, and disabilities and library advocacy groups to support the drafting and adoption of the Marrakesh Treaty, which will facilitate access to published literary works in accessible format copies for persons all over the world who are blind, visually impaired or have other print disabilities.

We are deeply pleased that a solidly bipartisan group in the U.S. Senate, led by Senators Chuck Grassley, Bob Corker, Dianne Feinstein, Bob Menendez, Orrin Hatch, Patrick Leahy and Kamala Harris -- the Chairpersons and Ranking Members of the Senate Judiciary and Foreign Relations Committees -- have prioritized the carefully-negotiated implementing legislation Marrakesh Treaty Implementation Act. (S.2559) for action in anticipation of Treaty ratification by the Senate.

“Today’s legislation is historic and important to the publishing community. Publishers recognize the uneven availability around the world of accessible books for the blind and visually impaired community and are pleased to have participated fully to realize a legal framework that is good public policy globally. The AAP’s members will continue to innovate in making their commercial products accessible to consumers who are blind, visually-impaired or have other print disabilities so that such individuals, like other consumers who do not have such disabilities, can acquire in the marketplace all manner of published works, covering the full spectrum of human interests, and enjoy them without having to depend upon regulatory measures for their availability,” said Allan Adler General Counsel and Executive Vice President of the Association of American Publishers.

For a joint statement from advocacy groups involved, see below.

The American Council of the Blind, American Foundation for the Blind, American Library Association, Association of American Publishers, Association of College and Research Libraries, Association of Research Libraries, Authors Guild, Benetech, National Federation of the Blind, National Music Publishers Association, and Perkins School for the Blind together applaud Chairmen Grassley and Corker, and Ranking Members Feinstein and Menendez, of the United States Senate Judiciary and Foreign Relations Committees, respectively, for today’s introduction of the Marrakesh Treaty Implementation Act. We also appreciate the support of Senators Hatch, Harris, and Leahy.

As U.S. stakeholder representatives, we strongly urge both houses of Congress to swiftly approve this legislation, and the Senate to quickly ratify the Marrakesh Treaty. Working tirelessly for many years with experts in the U.S. Government, we overcame our differences on the issues and processes that led to support for the global treaty; now, we again come together to support implementing legislation in the United States. The Treaty will greatly increase the availability of accessible books for people with print disabilities in the United States and in all countries that are parties to the Treaty.

The Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons who are Blind, Visually Impaired, or Otherwise Print Disabled was adopted by member states of the World Intellectual Property Organization in 2013. The Marrakesh Treaty Implementation Act amends the U.S. Copyright Act to comply with the Treaty.