Fine Gael Clare Senator and Seanad Spokesperson on Disability and Equality, Martin Conway, has today (Thursday) welcomed an agreement on an historic international treaty from the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) to improve access to books for the blind, visually impaired, and other print disabled people.
“This treaty will revolutionise access to books for the visually impaired by making changes to the current copyright system which limits access to those who cannot read regular printed books. This means that the blind, visually impaired, and print disabled people will now have access to published works in formats such as braille, large print text and audio books.
“According to the World Blind Union, of the million or so books published each year in the world, less than five per cent are made available in formats accessible to visually impaired persons. But this WIPO treaty will effectively end this ‘book famine’ by providing much wider access to printed works.
“As a person with print disability, I am delighted that from now on people who find it difficult or impossible to read traditional books will have better access to novels, textbooks and other material that they can use for education and enjoyment.
“As we all now part of global village, the introduction of this international treaty will greatly improve the lives of people with print disabilities throughout the world and will no doubt remove the obstacles which prevent the blind and visually impaired from having access to published books.”