IFLA continues to promote effective implementation of the Marrakesh Treaty, to the benefit of users with print disabilities and the libraries that serve them.

The Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled was signed on 27 June 2013, and entered into force on 30 September 2016.

The Treaty aims to address the ’book famine’ – the lack of books in formats that could be used by people with print disabilities, especially in developing countries. This is the result of a market failure caused by the wide-ranging nature of exclusive rights under copyright.

The Treaty includes two key elements – the possibility for people with print disabilities, or the institutions that serve them, to make accessible-format copies of books, and the possibility to share these copies, including across borders.

The Treaty itself is historic, both in terms of the speed at which it entered into force, and in that it is the first to focus on giving mandatory rights to users of copyrighted works.

IFLA works to support its Members to advocate for effective implementation of the Treaty nationally. Importantly, formal ratification must come with concrete changes to national laws.

In particular, IFLA argues against provisions that could reduce the impact of the Treaty, such as obliging supplementary remuneration, or forcing libraries to search for commercially available copies first.

Such steps risk using time and resources which could be better focused on serving users, as well as creating uncertainty that could dissuade libraries from drawing on the possibilities created by the Treaty.

To this end, IFLA actively works with libraries to advance ratification and implementation around the world. We produce regular Marrakesh Monitoring Reports, looking at whether and how national legislation fully allows for the making and sharing of accessible format works.

You can also consult our ‘Getting Started‘ Guide, produced with EIFL, the World Blind Union, the University of Toronto, and the Canadian Association of Research Libraries, in different languages and adaptations.

IFLA has produced a short toolkit for library associations in order to help them act against the creation of any new barriers to access to knowledge.