New international treaty will increase access to books for visually impaired persons – Minister Bruton

-   Richard Bruton TD

A new international treaty will improve book access for visually impaired people, particularly those in developing countries, according to Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD.

The international Treaty on Intellectual Property was today (Friday) signed in Marrakech, Morocco under the Irish Presidency of the Council of the EU.

Minister Bruton commented, “The provisions of the Treaty on Intellectual Property will make a significant difference in the lives of millions of visually impaired people across the globe. Ireland is proud that the treaty negotiations were concluded in the final days of its Presidency of the Council of the EU.”

“Ireland, like many other countries, has an exception in its national copyright law that allows for the adaptation of books into formats that are easier to use for visually impaired persons. These formats include braille and audio files adapted for the visually impaired. Up to now however, the absence of an international agreement meant that these specially adapted books could not be made accessible internationally. This treaty will allow cross-border transfer of such books, ending the costly duplications in adapting these books for the visually impaired.”

“This will be particularly valuable for developing countries where estimates indicate that over 90% of visually impaired persons live. Adoption of this treaty is clear recognition by the international community of the urgent need to address the book famine experienced by visually impaired persons throughout the world.”  

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