After nearly a decade of work and debate, people in the United States are on the brink of being able to obtain accessible books from international sources.
The U.S. House of Representatives has unanimously passed the Marrakesh Treaty Implementation Act, making the bill a presidential signature from becoming law. Senate bill 2559, which will add the United States to the list of countries which have ratified the treaty, passed in the Senate earlier this year.
The journey to this point has been a long one, with the World Intellectual Property Organization finalizing language for the treaty in 2013. Both the National Federation of the Blind and American Council of the Blind along with many other advocacy agencies and libraries have supported the bill, which removes restrictions from sharing books across borders in both printed and electronic formats. This should also lead to less duplication of content and effort in converting books to accessible formats.
President Trump now needs to sign the bill and authorize the State Department to lead in its implementation. We'll update this story as it develops.
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J.J. Meddaugh is an experienced technology writer and computer enthusiast. He is a graduate of Western Michigan University with a major in telecommunications management and a minor in business. When not writing for Blind Bargains, he enjoys travel, playing the keyboard, and meeting new people.