Publishers from France, UK, US and South Africa have signed licensing agreements with TIGAR, a pilot initiative created in collaboration with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

Starting in September IPA has been approaching key international publishers asking them to join this project. Since then a number of key international publishers have signed the licensing agreement, the pilot “Memorandum of Understanding”, or licensing agreement. These include Elsevier, Hachette and Editis in France, Bloomsbury in the UK and Harper Collins in the US. At the Frankfurt Book Fair a number of additional signing publishers were announced. Brian Wafawarowa, the Director of the Publishers Association of South Africa (PASA) explained how the TIGAR project will benefit blind and visually impaired persons in South Africa. There was also an update on publishers who have signed the MoU, and formal endorsements of the TIGAR project by the Association of American Publishers (AAP), the UK Publishers Association, and other organisations.

Thanks to the promising number of participants, the exchange of files between libraries is set to begin before the end of 2011.

IPA President YS Chi commented that, “Publishers are committed to enabling all readers, irrespective of disability, to read their works. The TIGAR project closes an important gap that we have not been able to close, despite the advances in eBook technology. This is particularly true for the developing world where there are few - if any - books in accessible formats. Publishers participating in the TIGAR project are leading the way in the international publishing community. Their contribution will ensure that visually impaired persons everywhere in the world will have increasing access to books.”

More about TIGAR

The Trusted Intermediary Global Accessible Resources (TIGAR) project seeks to facilitate cross-border exchange of copyright protected electronic files for books in accessible formats between national libraries and charitable institutions (trusted intermediaries) serving the blind, visually impaired and other persons with print disabilities. This exchange can significantly expand the repertoire of adapted works available to individual print disabled persons in their countries in the short term. Increased use of electronic source files from publishers and on-going exchange of books between Trusted Intermediaries can significantly reduce the costs of production and help further expand the range of accessible books available.

The primary deliverables from the three year pilot project with a target completion date by the end of 2013 include, inter alia:

An established network of trusted intermediaries (TIs) that enables secure and transparent exchange of electronic files; search, discovery and access to books in accessible formats that are available from both TIs and commercial collections and a sustainable business model to support the above on an on-going basis.

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