ARL, together with fifteen other organizations including library associations, blind and disability groups, authorized entities and non-profit advocacy organizations, joined a statement supporting rapid ratification of the Marrakesh Treaty. The Obama Administration sent the Marrakesh Treaty to the Senate on February 10, 2016 and the letter calls on the Senate to ratify the Treaty and for the House and Senate to pass the Marrakesh Implementation Act. The Treaty provides minimum standards for limitations and exceptions to create and distribute accessible formats for the print disabled and allows for the cross-border exchange of these formats.
The statement notes:
We believe the Treaty is consistent with United States law and could be ratified without any changes to existing statutes or regulations.
Notwithstanding this view, we are prepared to support the legislative package as proposed by the Administration because it makes minimal changes to the law and its consideration would, we trust, facilitate early Senate consent to ratification. We are confident that the focused and narrow changes that have been proposed are enough to satisfy the terms of the Marrakesh Treaty. We believe any effort to make any other changes in US law, beyond those proposed by the Administration, would unnecessarily delay and jeopardize the ratification of this treaty. Blind and otherwise print disabled Americans have waited far too long for equal access to printed materials.
We call upon the Senate to consent to ratification without any reservations, understandings or declarations. We further encourage Congress to hold hearings expeditiously and to enact the implementing legislation along with the suggested legislative history as currently drafted, without delay. If the Treaty is ratified and the legislation adopted, the blind and otherwise print disabled of our nation will benefit greatly by having access to the rest of the world’s accessible book collection and the blind and otherwise print disabled of the world will advance their quest for greater information through access to books in the United States.