Press Release Copyright Reform

Public Knowledge Welcomes Marrakesh Treaty Implementation Act to Increase Accessible Content

March 19, 2018 , ,

Recently, bipartisan leadership of the Senate Judiciary and Foreign Relations Committees, Chairmen Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Bob Corker (R-TN), as well as Ranking Members Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Bob Menendez (D-NJ), introduced the Marrakesh Treaty Implementation Act (S. 2559). The bill was co-sponsored by Sens. Kamala Harris (D-CA), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), and Patrick Leahy (D-VT).

The bill amends the U.S. Copyright Act to ensure compliance with the Marrakesh Treaty adopted by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in 2013. The Marrakesh Treaty requires countries to enact copyright exceptions that allow the creation and distribution of accessible format copies such as braille, audiobooks or digital files for consumers. Among other things, the treaty enables the importation and exportation among treaty members of accessible versions of printed works. Public Knowledge supports implementing the treaty and urges Congress to act to provide equal access to printed materials for those with disabilities.

The following can be attributed to Meredith Rose, Policy Counsel at Public Knowledge:

“Public Knowledge applauds Chairmen Grassley and Corker, Ranking Members Feinstein and Menendez, as well as Senators Harris, Hatch, and Leahy, for their tireless efforts to make this bill a reality and bring the U.S. into compliance with its obligations under the Marrakesh treaty.

“This bipartisan, common-sense legislation will improve the ability of blind, visually impaired and print-disabled persons to access published works in a usable format. These Americans have waited far too long for equal access to printed materials. With the Marrakesh Treaty Implementation Act, they will finally have the legal protections they need to fully access and utilize important cultural works.

“Congress should not waste another single day in implementing the Marrakesh Treaty. We call upon Congress to support the Marrakesh Treaty Implementation Act, and improve access for print-disabled consumers across America.”