Deal Boosts Blind’s Access to Texts

Global copyright agreement will increase availability of scientific texts in accessible formats.

An international treaty approved on 27 June is a major victory for people with visual impairments. The 186 member states of the World Intellectual Property Organization came to a historic agreement to remove copyright obstacles that have hampered the global availability of textbooks and other published works in accessible formats such as braille, large print and audio.

The agreement, which has been a decade in the making, was reached in Marrakesh, Morocco, after more than a week of intense negotiations. All ratifying states must now introduce national copyright exemptions that will allow government agencies and non-profit bodies to convert published works to accessible versions and distribute them globally to visually impaired people.

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