Publishers value all readers, irrespective of how they access their works, and share the aspiration of those with visual impairments: full, simultaneous access to works on equal terms, and delivered in a sustainable way.
Traditionally, publishing has always been close to charities supporting visually impaired persons, in particular where they were producing Braille or other special format works that are particularly expensive to produce. Today, technological advances have dramatically improved the ability of those with visual impairment to access information. Improved technology, both in the area of VIP reader and accessibility software and in the continuing development of production software and product formats, is making more content accessible to visually impaired persons than ever before.
Formats that are accessible to visually impaired persons, in particular audio books and electronic formats are increasing popular and commercially successful.
Despite these advances, the current situation is far from ideal. Not all works use formats that are easily compatible with existing VIP access technology. The IPA supports projects which make electronic works available to visually impaired persons, and welcomes cooperation between organisations representing visually impaired persons and rightsholders, collective licensing organisations, libraries and other institutions.
Accessible Books Consortium (ABC)
The IPA co-established the Accessible Books Consortium (ABC) with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the World Blind Union (WBU), the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) and many other international stakeholders.
The ABC is a multi-stakeholder partnership, comprising WIPO, organizations that serve people with print disabilities, and organizations representing publishers and authors. Its objective is to increase the number of books worldwide inaccessible formats, such as braille, audio and large print, and make them available to print disabled people. More information can be found in the ABC brochure.
The ABC complements the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled. The Treaty compels WIPO member states to establish a copyright exception for visually impaired people, while allowing cross-border sharing of books in accessible formats.
In December 2016 the IPA released the IPA GUIDE TO THE MARRAKESH TREATY to help world publishers better understand their responsibilities under the Marrakesh Treaty.