7 February 2017
IFLA Calls on European Parliament to Get Marrakesh Treaty Implementation Right
There is less than a month to go before a planned vote in the European Parliament on ratifying the Marrakesh Treaty. If this is done correctly, it promises to remove key barriers to access to knowledge and culture for people with print disabilities. IFLA, alongside other organisations, continues to maintain the pressure for laws that let libraries maximise the impact of their work to help some of the most vulnerable in our societies.
IFLA participated as a witness at a hearing at the European Parliament on 29 January, alongside Wolfgang Angermann, President of the European Blind Union, and representatives of the International Publishers Association and the Association of Italian Publishers.
MEPs heard about positive examples, notably from Italy, where organisations for the visually impaired, libraries and publishers have worked together to offer greater access. Such cooperation is welcome, and will continue to be important once the Treaty is implemented.
However, with a serious lack of accessible format books still facing people with print disabilities in Europe and around the world, faster progress is needed. To realise the potential of Marrakesh, as MEPs heard, it is vital to move quickly and avoid creating barriers, such as additional payments, checks on whether books are available elsewhere, registration and record keeping obligations. This will not only help Europeans, but also set the right example to other countries around the world looking to ratify the Treaty.