Library of Congress Union Support Treaty for the Blind

Blind girl monument readingThe Capital Area Council of Federal Employees, Council 26 of the American Federation of State Municipal and Federal Employees has sent a letter to the U.S. delegation to WIPO in support for the “treaty for the blind.” This union includes many staff members from the Library of Congress including those working at the National Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS).

The diplomatic conference to finalize the treaty begins in Marrakesh on June 17th. Over a two week period, the U.S. delegation will work with other WIPO member nations in negotiations. A 2006 WIPO study revealed that less than 60 member nations of the 186 nations represented at WIPO have an exception that allows for creating an accessible copy for people with visual impairments, leaving the majority of nations, particularly in developing regions without the lawful ability to serve the visually impaired. Moreover, ninety percent of the 314 million people who are blind or have visual impairments live in developing nations, making the need for an exception obvious.

About Carrie Russell

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 crussell@alawash.org.

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