October 23, 2010
An unprecedented initiative to facilitate access to published works by the visually impaired and the print disabled was announced on October 23, 2010 in New Delhi, India at the 5th meeting of WIPO’s Stakeholders’ Platform, which was set up in January 2009 to explore the specific needs, and concerns, of both copyright owners and reading impaired persons and brings together representatives of the visually impaired persons (VIP) community as well as publishers. The Platform approved the launch on November 1, 2010 of TIGAR - the trusted intermediary global accessible resources project – which will enable publishers to make their titles easily available to trusted intermediaries. These intermediaries will create accessible formats and share them amongst each other and with specialized libraries.
It is estimated that only 5% of the world’s one million print titles that are published every year are accessible to the some 340 million around the world who are blind, visually impaired or who live with other print disabilities. Specialized organizations globally, such as libraries for the blind, have taken on the task of adapting these books into Daisy, Braille audio or special digital formats at great expense. The TIGAR project is the result of close collaboration between WIPO and organizations representing authors, publishers and blind and low vision persons, including the World Blind Union
(WBU) and the International Publishers Association
(IPA), and promises to provide access to a wider range of accessible books. WIPO will provide the technical support for this project.
“WIPO is pleased to announce the launch of this innovative and unprecedented collaboration between the private sector and public interest organizations which aims at facilitating access to published works by the visually impaired and print disabled,” said WIPO Director General Francis Gurry who attended the New Delhi Stakeholders’ meeting. He added that “the success of this project – which represents an effective global partnership for development - will require commitment and investment of all concerned.” The Director General said the Stakeholders’ Platform is an important complement to work currently being undertaken within WIPO’s Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) aimed at establishing a multilateral legal framework in the field of limitations and exceptions for the benefit of VIPs.
Through a range of library services and publisher offerings, TIGAR promises to ensure that persons with print disabilities - both in developing or the developed countries - have equal access to published works as persons without print disabilities. TIGAR will allow the print and visually disabled to search for content across distributed networks which enable them to access published works in accessible formats.
It is expected that the first transfer of accessible books will be operational by mid 2011.
For further information, please contact the Media Relations Section at WIPO:
- Tel: (+41 22) - 338 81 61 / 338 72 24
- Fax: (+41 22) - 338 81 40