Access for Persons with Print Disabilities

International activity

The Accessible Books Consortium (ABC) is a multi-stakeholder partnership, comprising WIPO; organisations that serve people with print disabilities; and organisations representing publishers and authors, as well as RROs, represented by IFRRO. Its aim is to increase the number of books available in formats to persons who are blind, visually impaired, or otherwise print disabled worldwide. In this respect, it complements and facilitates the implementation of the Marrakesh Treaty on access to accessible format copies.
The ABC sprang out of the stakeholder platform established at the WIPO Standing Committee on Copyright and related Rights in November 2008. It is governed by a Board, made up of stakeholder representatives, the IFRRO CEO being one of them, and chaired by the WIPO DG. It focuses the activities on three sectors: (i) Promoting accessible publishing (Inclusive publishing), which aims at making it more cost-efficient for publishers to produce born accessible book; (ii) the building of an international database for the exchange of books in accessible formats - ABC Global Book Service; and (iii) capacity building, directed primarily towards developing countries, which do not have up-to-date knowledge and capabilities to produce books in accessible formats.   
More information about ABC can be found on the ABC brochure and on the ABC website
ABC Global Book Service

The  ABC Global Book Service (formerly TIGAR (Trusted Intermediary Global Accessible Resources) service) is an international database of books in formats accessible to persons who are blind, visually impaired or, otherwise print disabled, for their change across borders. It is hosted at WIPO, and contains currently titles in accessible formats in some 55 languages. 

For more information about the ABC Global Book Service, please visit:

WIPO Marrakesh Treaty

The WIPO Diplomatic Conference concluded successfully on 28 June 2013 with the adoption of the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons who are Blind, Visually Impaired, or otherwise Print Disabled (available here).

For IFRRO members, the Treaty should not per se bring about changes. Countries in which RROs administer statutory licences in respect of accessible format copies are allowed to maintain such arrangements. We continue to encourage RROs to respond positively to requests from authors and publishers to facilitate the making and cross-border exchange of accessible format copies, including participating in relevant ABC activities, such as assisting in rights clearance related to works made available through the ABC Global Book Service.

The complete IFRRO legal analysis of the WIPO Marrakesh Treaty can be found here. We would also recommend Prof. Mihály Ficsor’s comprehensive article.

Regional activity

Parallel to the WIPO Platform, the European Commission run a stakeholder dialogue on access to copyright works for persons with print disabilities, with a particular focus on the situation in the EU Member States. This initiative, which supported the WIPO Platform, resulted in a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which the IFRRO President signed on behalf of IFRRO on 14 September 2010. Other signatories to the MoU are EWC, FEP, STM, European Blind Union and the European Dyslexia Association. ETIN (European Trusted Intermediary Network), in which IFRRO was active from its establishment, was established following the EU Memorandum of Understanding on access to works by people with print disabilities and was a Brussels-based network representing both trusted intermediary organisations and rightholders. It aimed at having pan-European coverage. Its activities have been overtaken by the ABC initiative. 

IFRRO publications in accessible formats on RRO activities 
IFRRO offers the following links to assist Visually impaired readers have access to its booklet on Collective Management in Reprography
La gestión colectiva en el ámbito de la reprografía (Spanish DAISY Book - full audio and text (40Mb)
La gestión colectiva en el ámbito de la reprografía (Spanish DAISY Book - text only (200Kb)
Collective Management in Reprography (English DAISY Book - full audio and text 25Mb)
Collective Management in Reprography (English DAISY Book - text only 200Kb)
The DAISY book is a file set with various types of files. It must be downloaded and extracted to a folder (usually with the book 's name). It is opened by opening the opf file. So the user must download the zipped file  and extract the content. The full audio book has the advantage of being possible to hear on any mp3 playback device, besides its use on a computer. The text only version can be played by any DAISY 3.0 software player (you can use the free player, DDREADER, see below) and will use the machine's TTS voices. It has the size advantage. It is important to note that it is a DAISY 3.0 book.
DDReader is available to download here. You must have Firefox installed in English, Spanish or Portuguese and a voice for each language you want to use.

IFRRO Resources to help RROs to assist authors and publishers provide appropriate access for VIPs

IFRRO Guide: Facilitating Access to Works for Print Disabled Persons

To help RROs in assisting authors and publishers in providing appropriate access to their works the IFRRO Board has approved the following documents
IFRRO statements on access to works by persons with print disabilities