Marrakesh Treaty Implementation Act
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Marrakesh Treaty Implementation Act

November 20, 2019


Hi I’m Mike Marlin I’m the director of
the California Braille and Talking Book Library part of the California State
Library. We provide materials to people who are blind low vision or otherwise
print disabled for example an organic reading disabilities such as dyslexia or
persons who have sustained injuries such as veterans of the United States Armed
Forces. We loan Braille, audio and even descriptive video to eligible patrons
throughout Northern California. I’m here today to talk about the Marrakesh Treaty
to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who are Blind, Visually
Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled. This is an international treaty that was
passed at the World Intellectual Property Organization, part of the United
Nations in Marrakesh, Morocco in 2013, thus the Marrakesh Treaty. It went into
effect in September of 2016 after the minimum number of 20 countries had
ratified it. Recently the United States Senate ratified the Marrakesh Treaty in
July of 2018 and pending presidential signature it will go into effect soon.
This is very exciting for the California Braille and Talking Book Library as we
have patrons throughout our service requesting materials and other
languages, for example Mandarin Chinese, Russian, Tagalog, French, German, Spanish,
and other languages as well. And there are also more than 60 English-speaking
countries throughout the world who could benefit from materials that we produce
here in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, etc. So the treaty
will greatly benefit patrons and their access to alternate format materials
such as Braille and audio throughout the world. This will help alleviate what the
World bBind Union has termed the global book famine where upon a very small
percentage of published works are made in available formats each year to people
who need them. California has recently signed an
agreement with the Accessible Books Consortium, which is the lending
mechanism within the World Intellectual Property Organization, and soon we will
be able to loan our materials but more importantly acquire materials in other languages for our patrons. This is very exciting
as California has always been and will continue to be on the vanguard of
excellent public service especially to people with alternate format and needs
and requirements.

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