The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) celebrates the signing of the Marrakesh Treaty Implementation Act by President Trump. Earlier this year, the US Senate unanimously ratified the Marrakesh Treaty and with the US House of Representatives passed the Marrakesh Treaty Implementation Act, S. 2559. As an organization dedicated to achieving enduring and barrier-free access to information, ARL welcomes this next step toward ratification and implementation.
The Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired, or Otherwise Print Disabled requires countries to ensure minimum copyright limitations and exceptions for the creation and distribution of accessible formats of works and cross-border sharing of these works. Cross-border exchange is a critical feature of the treaty, which could greatly alleviate the “book famine,” a situation in which the National Federation of the Blind has estimated that no more than 5 percent of published works are created in an accessible format.
The treaty currently has 41 contracting parties and entered into force on September 30, 2016, with Canada’s ratification. Countries from every region of the world, with varying levels of development, have ratified the treaty. Other countries are also moving toward ratification and the European Union is expected to complete its process for ratification later this year.
“The Marrakesh Treaty has the capacity to open a world of knowledge for those who have print disabilities and currently can only access a tiny fraction of published works,” said Susan Gibbons, president of the Association of Research Libraries and Stephen F. Gates ‘68 University Librarian and deputy provost for collections and scholarly communication at Yale University. “By allowing for cross-border exchange of accessible-format works, countries can avoid duplication of resources in the creation of these formats. Libraries, as authorized entities, have a vital role in facilitating cross-border exchanges. ARL members look forward to facilitating exchanges, not only across the United States-Canada border, but globally.”
Now that the President has signed the Marrakesh Treaty Implementation Act, the US State Department will need to deposit the instrument of ratification with the World Intellectual Property Organization. ARL urges the Administration to swiftly complete this final step.
About the Association of Research Libraries
The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) is a nonprofit organization of 125 research libraries in Canada and the US whose mission is to advance research, learning, and scholarly communication. The Association fosters the open exchange of ideas and expertise, promotes equity and diversity, and pursues advocacy and public policy efforts that reflect the values of the library, scholarly, and higher education communities. ARL forges partnerships and catalyzes the collective efforts of research libraries to enable knowledge creation and to achieve enduring and barrier-free access to information. ARL is on the web at ARL.org.