One step toward ending the book famine

Justin Hughes delivering remarks to the Extraordinary General Assembly

Justin Hughes, the head of the US delegation to WIPO delivers the US remarks.

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) General Assembly decided yesterday to convene a Diplomatic Conference in Morocco in June 2013 to finalize negotiations on an international copyright treaty that would allow for the cross-border sharing of accessible content to people with print disabilities around the world.  This is the final step in a long diplomatic process to end the “book famine” for the blind–particularly those in developing nations who have access to less than 1 percent of published works in alternative formats. The end result will be the allowance of authorized entities, including libraries, to lend accessible copies to blind people in other nations.

The Library Copyright Alliance (LCA), of which ALA is a member, has been advocating for this treaty since 2009, working closely with the National Federation of the Blind, the American Council for the Blind and the United States delegation to WIPO.

Carrie Russell is the Director of the Program on Public Access to Information in the Office for Information Technology Policy (OITP). Her portfolio includes copyright, international copyright, accessibility, e-books and other public policy issues. She has a MLIS from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and a MA in media arts from the University of Arizona. She can be reached via e-mail at

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