The role that Benetech, and our CEO Jim Fruchterman, have played in the adoption of the historic “Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired, or Otherwise Print Disabled,” has been been noted in some recent media coverage and through other media channels. Commonly referred to as the “Treaty for the Blind,” this landmark Treaty will dramatically ease access to printed material for people with visual and reading disabilities. Jim has been working on this Treaty on behalf of Benetech and Bookshare, with partners all over the world, for years. He took part in Treaty negotiations, was in attendance for its adoption and has written a number of pieces about the Treaty.
In the United Kingdom, BBC Radio 4 aired an interview with Jim as part of a special In Touch episode about the Treaty and its implications. In Touch is a BBC Radio program that provides news, views and information for people who are blind or visually impaired. Host Peter White noted that one of the most immediate benefits of the Treaty for readers in the United Kingdom could be access to the almost 200,000 ebooks in the Bookshare library.
“My next assignment,” said Jim, “is to write a briefing paper for our Senate staff on why we should ratify the treaty: why it would benefit Americans with disabilities, why it’s good for the international copyright system and why it proves we could solve problems multilaterally.”
You can listen to the full In Touch episode, or fast forward to Jim’s interview at the 11:24 mark.
Beyond Chron, San Francisco’s alternative online daily, quoted Jim in a post on the “Marrakesh Miracle.” The post, “Historic Copyright Victory for Blind Readers,” cites Jim’s closing statement to delegates at the Diplomatic Conference:
“Now we have a legal framework to make it possible for every person with print disabilities on the planet to get access to the books they need for education, employment, and social inclusion.”
The Skoll Foundation also celebrated the “Marrakesh Miracle” by posting a video of Jim talking about the Treaty and quoting him in a statement for their website.