We Have a Treaty…and It’s Great!
|Diplomatic leaders gathered|
in Marrakesh, Morocco
Thank you to everybody who helped to make the treaty possible!
Why is this treaty so terrific? For starters, it closely follows the Chafee Amendment, which is the copyright exception that has made Bookshare possible in the United States. And once the United States Senate ratifies the treaty, it will be possible for libraries like Bookshare to get more content for Americans from sources outside of the United States and in more languages. It will also be possible for Bookshare to deliver our entire library—instead of only the titles we have permissions from publishers to share—directly to people with print disabilities living in other countries using our individual membership system (it works just like your own library card). The treaty also allows us to work around digital rights management and associated technological protection measures to ensure access for our users.
|Me delivering Benetech's closing|
statement to the conference.
I will admit that the prospect of getting this great of a treaty, one that would have a real impact and wasn’t poisoned by private interests with their own agendas, was looking grim leading up to the diplomatic conference. We were worried that a bad treaty might even negatively affect our ability to serve our users in the United States. It was thanks to the petition signing, the phone calls, emails and the public conversation generated by our Bookshare members, organizations like the National Federation of the Blind, the American Council of the Blind, and the American Foundation for the Blind, that the United States government stood up to those private interests and negotiated for a pro-consumer treaty. To everyone involved—so many names it is impossible to list everyone—a sincere “Thank You” for helping to get us here. Your support and action helped us to achieve a historic treaty that will change the lives of millions around the world.
More to come as we work to ratify—and eventually implement—the treaty, and bring an end to the global accessible book famine!