After close engagement in the negotiation of the Marrakesh Treaty, culminating in its signature in 2013, libraries are now working to realise its promise.


The Treaty mandates governments to give libraries and other authorised entities the right to make accessible format copies of books and share them, for the benefit of people who are blind, visually impaired, or who have other print disabilities.


This should happen without having to ask permission, or face restrictions from technological protection measures or bureaucratic hurdles. For the best results, there should also be no supplementary remuneration payable, or obligation to check whether copies are on sale somewhere.   


On a practical level, this is already happening. IFLA’s Section on Libraries Serving Persons with Print Disabilities is bringing dedicated librarians from around the world together in order to provide better services to those who need it most. On a political level, IFLA is working with partner organisations to ensure that governments pass the laws necessary to ratify the Treaty.


Our engagement with the European Union, alongside EBLIDA, aims to ensure that Europeans with print disabilities receive maximum access. But just as importantly, good EU ratification will not only make repositories of accessible books in Europe accessible to people with print disabilities around the world, but will also set an important example for others.


IFLA, alongside EBLIDA, has therefore agreed a position paper on the reforms. We look forward to working with MEPs and member states in order make a reality of the Marrakesh Treaty.  


See also our news story when the EU Proposals first emerged.