In December 2018, Authors Alliance submitted a brief to the Canadian Committee on Industry, Science and Technology in response to a request for public comment. The committee was tasked by Parliament with reviewing Canada’s copyright statutes and issuing a report with recommendations for action and further consideration. Our brief urged the retention of reversionary rights in Canada’s Copyright Act and recommended amendments to the provision to enhance the utility of reversionary rights.
Earlier this month, the Committee on Industry, Science and Technology released its Statutory Review of the Copyright Act. Our brief was cited in the report, and we were pleased to see that the report includes recommendations to expand fair dealing and reversionary rights, which benefit creators who wish to make fair use or to regain rights to their previously published works.
The long-awaited Canadian copyright review report features numerous good recommendations, many of which were rejections of industry lobbying: a rejection of new restrictions on fair dealing for education, rejection of Bell’s FairPlay site blocking initiative, and rejection of limits on safe harbours in response to the so-called “value gap.” Yet the most notable recommendation is the committee’s support for fair dealing for the digital age by expanding its scope and ensuring that it applies equally in the analog and digital worlds.
there is a need to fix fair dealing by ensuring that it is not hamstrung in the digital environment. The Canadian test for fairness is consistent with those found in other countries, but there are barriers that exist for fair dealing in the digital world that are not found in the analog one. The most obvious example are Canada’s digital lock rules, which exceed the requirements at international law in the WIPO Internet treaties. As many warned five years ago, Canada has created a system that allows for unnecessarily restrictive limits on digital fair dealing. There is a need to fix this problem by establishing an exception within the anti-circumvention rules to allow for circumvention for any lawful purpose.Moreover, the fair dealing purposes should be expanded, ideally by adopting a “such as” approach to its list of enumerated purposes that would ensure the law remains relevant in the face of new innovation. Alternatively, given Canada’s prioritization of artificial intelligence, there is a need for a fair dealing exception for text and data mining similar to that found in many other countries.
The copyright review addresses all three issues. First, the committee
recommended adding much needed flexibility by allowing circumvention
for purposes otherwise permitted under the Copyright Act:
However, it agrees that the circumvention of TPMs should be allowed for non-infringing purposes, especially given the fact that the Nintendo case provided such a broad interpretation of TPMs. In other words, while anti-circumvention rules should support the use of TPMs to enable the remuneration of rights-holders and prevent copyright infringement, they should generally not prevent someone from committing an act otherwise authorized under the Act.
This change will help ensure that fair dealing rights are treated in an equivalent manner in both the analog and digital worlds.
The bill has a laudable goal: reducing barriers to copyright
enforcement for those with limited financial resources by providing a faster
and cheaper avenue to remedies. For many independent authors, creators, and
users of copyrighted content, copyright litigation in federal court is not
worth the candle; the high cost of litigation keeps many independent authors
and creators from enforcing their copyrights. A well-designed copyright small
claims process could fix this but, unfortunately, the deeply flawed CASE Act
isn’t that. While failing to limit the tribunal’s scope to the types of claims
and claimants that it’s best suited to and allowing recovery of excessive damages,
the small claims process as set out in the CASE Act would also cause harm to
many legitimate users of copyrighted works, including authors, educators, and
The CASE Act’s small
claims process isn’t limited to the problems a small claims court is
well-positioned to address.
The CASE Act’s small
claims tribunal isn’t limited to those independent authors and creators who
need it most.
holders who most need, and would most benefit, from a small claims process are
those independent authors and creators who can’t afford to press their claims
in federal court. Unfortunately, instead of limiting the small claims process to
those independent copyright holders that really need access to this kind of
forum to enforce their copyrights, the CASE Act opens the door widely,
welcoming in large corporations, corporate assignees, and entities that buy up
others’ copyright claims and profit from litigation.
We’ve already seen how copyright trolls and big content
companies have sometimes abused the federal court system to raise questionable
infringement accusations and threaten those accused with high statutory damages.
By not limiting enforcement through the small claims process to individual
creators, the CASE Act makes it even easier for these entities to get quick
default judgments and disproportionately high damages awards. Absent enough
protections for accused infringers and reasonable limits on damages, the CASE
Act would invite more abusive litigation tactics by copyright trolls and
opportunistic claimants while cluttering up the docket with cases that should
be resolved elsewhere.
The CASE Act’s small claims
tribunal’s jurisdiction is far too broad.
Some areas of copyright law are just too complicated, fact specific, and unsettled to be decided by a small claims process. The CASE Act tribunal’s accelerated process and limited discovery mean that it’s really only equipped to handle simple, straightforward infringement claims in settled areas of law. But the CASE Act doesn’t draw the line there. Instead, the tribunal has expansive authority to hear all types of copyright infringement claims including those that involve highly complex issues and uncertain areas of law. These complicated cases belong in a federal court with the expertise and resources to more competently address all the factual and legal issues involved. Leaving these cases with the small claims tribunal hurts both those authors trying to enforce their copyrights and those trying to defend their rights to use copyrighted works, as the tribunal won’t be able to adequately resolve the issues involved.
CASE Act does include a provision allowing the tribunal to dismiss a claim or
defense if the tribunal decides it’s not suitable, without a clear limitation
on the tribunal’s jurisdiction, it’s hard to see how it would make consistent
decisions to do so.
The CASE Act would create new opportunities for abusive litigation
The CASE Act’s “default
judgment mill” favors sophisticated actors over independent authors and
The CASE Act’s opt-out provision doesn’t provide independent authors (whether claimants or defendants) enough protection. Under the CASE Act, if someone accused of infringement fails to opt-out of the small claims process within 60 days of receiving notice of the claim, the small claims tribunal can enter a default judgment in favor of the claimant and award her damages. This judgment can then be enforced by the claimant in federal court. While this opt-out procedure is supposed to provide some protection for the accused, there’s a strong likelihood that authors, educators, and small creators without sophisticated legal knowledge or representation may not fully understand the implications and may ignore the notice – ending up on the hook for substantial damages awards without a meaningful opportunity to appeal. This quick and easy way to obtain default judgments is likely to create a “default judgment mill,” where big content companies and copyright trolls can churn out a mass of default judgments and high damages awards against unsophisticated individuals.
The CASE Act’s statutory damages framework invites abuse.
There may be a role for a reasonably statutory small framework in a small claims tribunal when damages from infringement are difficult or impossible to prove. However, while substantially lower than the statutory damages available in federal court, the CASE Act’s statutory damages are still excessively high and are available in all cases. Under the CASE Act, claimants who timely registered their works can request up to $15,000 per work infringed, with a total limit of $30,000 per proceeding. Those who failed to timely register their works can request up to $7,500 per work infringed, with a limit of $15,000 per proceeding. As copyright law experts have pointed out, in federal court, the availability of excessive statutory damages has made it easy for unscrupulous plaintiffs to intimidate and extract settlements from individuals accused of infringement. Faced with the risk of a high statutory award, many defendants opt to settle, even when they have a valid defense. And without standards to guide those awards, copyright litigation is an unpredictable venture. With lower barriers for plaintiffs and a disproportionate statutory damages framework, the CASE Act could make these problems even worse.
As concerned scholarshave noted, The CASE Act’s statutory damages framework won’t just harm defendants, though. It will also create an incentive for sophisticated or well-resourced defendants to strategically opt out of the small claims process when they think the claimant won’t be able to pursue her claim in federal court. This would undermine the CASE Act’s core objective, returning independent authors and creators to today’s unsatisfactory status quo.
Would the CASE Act tribunal be a fair one?
The CASE Act’s
limitations on appeal make it unduly difficult for parties to get meaningful
independent review of tribunal decisions.
Independent judicial review is essential to ensuring that
any tribunal operates fairly and arrives at the correct result. The CASE Act,
however, narrowly restricts the ability of either party to seek review of the
tribunal’s decisions in federal court. Under the CASE Act, parties can ask the
tribunal to reconsider a determination, and, with an additional fee, parties
can ask the Register to review the tribunal’s refusal to reconsider on abuse of
discretion grounds. Independent review by a court is only available in on the
grounds of “fraud, corruption, misrepresentation, or other misconduct,” or if
the tribunal exceeded its authority or failed to render a final decision.
Default judgments are only reviewable on grounds of excusable neglect. By
restricting the grounds for appeal, the CASE Act would leave erroneous tribunal
decisions essentially unreviewable and unjustly wronged parties with no where
to turn for relief.
The Copyright Office probably isn’t the right place for a copyright small
A tribunal within the copyright office, designed to serve copyright claimants, and with officers selected and recommended by the Register of Copyrights may end up friendlier towards copyright claimants, and less receptive to arguments that a contested use is legitimate or qualifies as fair use. In concert with the limitations on appeal of tribunal decisions, this could create a forum inclined to issue more favorable judgments for big content companies and other copyright claimants, and in the process, harm those authors, educators, and creators defending their right to use copyrighted works.
Authors Alliance founder and law professor Pamela Samuelson points out that placing the tribunal within the Copyright Office could also run afoul of the United States Constitution. The United States Supreme Court has repeatedly stated that infringement claims belong in the federal courts. Placing some copyright infringement claims in an administrative forum may be unconstitutional under Supreme Court precedent.
Authors Deserve Better
Than the CASE Act.
Independent authors and creators should have access to a low cost way to enforce their copyrights and vindicate their right to use others’ copyrighted works. We support a fair, unbiased small claims process that doesn’t invite abuse and wreak havoc on copyright law. If Congress is serious about fixing Copyright’s small claims problem, it needs to do better than the CASE Act. It can start by listening to the numerous educators, scholars, librarians, technologists, lawyers, and public interest policy experts who’ve all pointed out the Act’s problems. If you want to learn more about the CASE Act, check out this paper by Authors Alliance founder Pamela Samuelson and Kathy Hashimoto, and this one by law professor Ben Depoorter.
On May 15, Authors Alliance celebrated our 5th birthday with a festive party at the David Brower Center in downtown Berkeley. Our guests braved the unseasonably cool and rainy weather to attend a reception followed by “Beyond the Bookshelf: Empowering Authors and Reaching Readers in the Digital Age,” a wide-ranging panel discussion featuring Brewster Kahle, Jeff MacKie-Mason, Abby Smith Rumsey, and Randy Schekman, and moderated by Authors Alliance’s own Molly Shaffer Van Houweling.
The discussion was professionally recorded for those who were unable to attend in person. Audio of the panel and Q&A can be heard here, as part of the Authors Alliance collection of works hosted by the Internet Archive.
The recording begins with opening remarks by Authors Alliance co-founder Molly Shaffer Van Houweling of UC Berkeley Law, and features the following highlights:
09:15: Historian Abby Smith Rumsey on changes to the traditional model of books and monographs in scholarship and the role of authors and libraries in the evolution of publishing.
17:28: Internet Archive founder Brewster Kahle on the importance of preservation and accuracy of online information at a time when “truth is fractured.”
25:40: Nobel Laureate Randy Schekman on open access scientific literature and how the focus on journal impact factor undermines scholarship and research.
41:22: UC Berkeley University Librarian Jeff MacKie-Mason on commercial scholarly publishers, the upheaval of traditional business models, and the responsibilities of authors, libraries, funders, and institutions to make work open access.
At 01:00, the panel convened to discuss a variety of topics, including:
Steps authors can take to reach more readers in the midst of change;
The University of California’s commitment to open access in the wake of failed negotiations with scholarly publishing giant Elsevier;
Challenges and opportunities in the preservation of born-digital materials;
The discussion wrapped up at 01:20 with a brief audience Q&A.
We are grateful to our distinguished panelists and to all our members and friends who attended the celebration. For those who couldn’t be there in person, we hope you enjoy the recording. Thanks to each and every one of you for supporting our work over the last five years. We look forward to more education and advocacy for authors in the months and years to come.
We thank Jason Mazzone, the Albert E. Jenner, Jr. Professor of Law at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, for contributing this guest post.
Copyfraud—false claims of copyright in public domain works—is a persistent problem. False copyright notices appear on modern reprints of Shakespeare’s plays, Beethoven’s piano scores, greeting card versions of Monet’s Water Lilies, and even the U.S. Constitution. Archives claim blanket copyright in everything in their collections. Vendors of microfilmed versions of historical newspapers assert copyright ownership.
These false copyright claims, which are often accompanied by
threatened litigation for reproducing a work without the “owner’s” permission,
result in users seeking licenses and paying fees to reproduce works that are
free for everyone to use. Copyfraud also interferes with lawful distribution of
public domain works.
Increasingly, computer bots are responsible. When Scribd users posted the recent Mueller report—a federal government document that cannot be copyrighted by anyone—the website’s filters flagged the report as copyrighted and took it down.
There are few available remedies for copyfraud. The
Copyright Act provides for no civil penalty for falsely claiming ownership of
public domain materials. There is also no remedy under the Copyright Act for
individuals who wrongly refrain from legal copying or who make payment for permission
to copy something they are in fact entitled to use for free. While falsely
claiming copyright is technically a criminal offense under the Copyright Act,
prosecutions are extremely rare.
A class action lawsuit filed in federal court in Washington now targets Getty Images for selling licenses to images that are in the public domain. The lawsuit alleges that Getty falsely asserts copyrights in public domain images and misleads consumers into believing they must purchase a license from Getty before making use of the images—and that Getty threatens legal action against unauthorized uses of the images it makes available in its database. The lawsuit against Getty asserts claims based on wire fraud under the federal RICO statute and violations of state consumer protection law.
This is new territory and at this early stage of the case it
is difficult to assess the likelihood the lawsuit will succeed. Getty is likely
to assert that it simply collects images and makes them conveniently available
in high-resolution versions and in so doing it does not violate any law. At a
minimum, in order to demonstrate fraud, the plaintiffs will need to demonstrate
that Getty intentionally misled them into believing it owned copyrights in
images and that as a result the plaintiffs paid out an unnecessary copyright
licensing fee. Even so, the court might find that there is no legal remedy
because Congress did not provide for one in the Copyright Act itself.
I first wrote about copyfraud more than a decade ago in an article published in the NYU Law Review and then in a book, Copyfraud And Other Abuses of Intellectual Property Law (Stanford University Press, 2011). Since then, awareness of the problem has grown. Remedying copyfraud, however, remains a challenge. The lawsuit against Getty might help clarify when existing law provides tools for protecting the public domain. More likely, however, is that the outcome of the case will shed further light on the need for comprehensive reform if copyright is to be kept within its proper limits.
In honor of our fifth birthday, we’re sharing this collection of highlights from the first five years of Authors Alliance. Many of our members have been with us from the beginning, and we thank you for your ongoing support and engagement. For our newer members, we hope this overview is a helpful summary of what we’re all about. And if you’re not yet a member of Authors Alliance, we encourage you to join today!
Year 1: 2014
Authors Alliance was launched in May 2014 by our founding board members Pamela Samuelson, Carla Hesse, Tom Leonard, and Molly Shaffer Van Houweling, all of UC Berkeley.
It all began in with a kickoff event at the Internet Archive in San Francisco, where we released a set of principles and proposals to guide copyright reform efforts in order to better support public-minded authors and creators.
In July of 2014, we filed an amicus brief in the Authors Guild vs. Google case in support of Google’s fair use defense, arguing that authors who write to be read benefit from Google’s digitization and indexing of their books because this makes works more discoverable without threatening commercial interests. Fair use continues to be a key advocacy issue for Authors Alliance today.
In September, Mike Wolfe was hired by the Board as Executive Director—the first (and, for a time, the only) employee of Authors Alliance. Mike took over our policy and communications and was responsible for shaping our agenda and our initial successes as an organization.
2015 marked our first full year as an organization. A grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation provided crucial support that enabled Authors Alliance to expand our operations, and thanks to a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, we expanded the scope and reach of our rights reversion project, taking our message to audiences at workshops around North America. To demonstrate the benefits of rights reversion, we also kicked off our series of “Rights Reversion Success Stories” in 2015, and we continue to feature these and other success stories on our blog today.
In July, Erika Wilson joined Authors Alliance as our Communications & Operations Manager and first full-time staff hire.
November saw the launch of our second educational guide: UnderstandingOpen Access: When, Why & How To Make Your Work Openly Accessible. The guide encourages authors to consider open access publishing by addressing common questions and concerns and by providing real-life strategies and tools that authors can use to work with publishers, institutions, and funders to make their works more widely available.
Year 3: 2016
In April, we welcomed Jeffrey MacKie-Mason to the Authors Alliance Board of Directors, expanding the number of board members to five.
Also in April, as a companion to our rights reversion handbook, we released a concise guide to writing a reversion letter. Complete with templates, this mini-guide assists authors in approaching their publishers to initiate a productive conversation with the goal of regaining rights.
In October, we launched the beta version of rightsback.org. This online tool, developed with our allies at Creative Commons, is designed to help authors navigate the termination of transfer provisions of U.S. copyright law. Complementing our efforts around rights reversions, our tool helps authors (or, in some cases, their family members) to regain rights to creative works signed away many years ago.
We also responded to the U.S. Copyright Office’s call for further comments regarding anti-circumvention provisions in Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. This comment supported a permanent exemption that would improve access to copyrighted works by people who are print disabled.
Year 4: 2017
The beginning of 2017 was bittersweet, as we said farewell to founding Executive Director Mike Wolfe, and welcomed Brianna Schofield as our ED. Although new to this role, Brianna was no stranger to Authors Alliance; she already had extensive experience in working on our core issues as a co-author of all of our educational handbooks.
We also continued our policy efforts in support of fair use. In February, we filed an amicus brief with the 11th Circuit in Cambridge University Press v. Albert, arguing that incentives to write and publish scholarly works would not be impaired by a ruling that nonprofit educational uses of chapters from scholarly books is fair use.
We continued to engage with the U.S. Copyright Office on behalf of our members. In March 2017, we supported the case for authors’ non-economic rights, including attribution, integrity, and the rights to revise and revive one’s work. An in July, we recommended way the Office can modernize copyright recordation to improve records and reduce the number of works likely to become orphans.
Our key milestone for 2018 was the release of our guide to Understanding and Negotiating Book Publication Contracts. This guide is the newest addition to our growing library of resources for authors, which also includes handbooks on rights reversion, open access, and fair use. The guide helps authors understand how to approach negotiation, what kinds of clauses to look for (and which to avoid), and how to engage in productive conversations with agents and publishers to ensure author-friendly contracts that align with their creative and pragmatic goals.
Understanding and Negotiating Book Publication Contracts would not have been possible without the support of our community of friends and members. We ran the first-ever Authors Alliance Kickstarter project, “Know Before You Sign on the Dotted Line,” in the spring, and we were thrilled to exceed our funding goal, thanks to our project backers.
We also released a report, Authorship and Accessibility in the Digital Age, based on a roundtable discussion among content creators, technologists, attorneys, academics, and advocates about the role of creators in making digital works more widely accessible to people with disabilities.
Also in 2018, Authors Alliance received a $500,000 grant from Arcadia—a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin—to enhance the ability of institutions to serve the scholarly communications needs of their author communities. Thanks to this two-year grant, we are currently developing the Authors Alliance Partner Program (A2P2), a suite of training and curricular materials for scholarly communications officers, librarians, and other staff at member institutions.
We look forward to continuing this work throughout 2019 and beyond, with the goal of making our institutional member portal a one-stop shop for scholarly communications information and resources that will increase the capacity of those who advise and serve authors.
We appreciate all the ways that our members and friends show their support for Authors Alliance. In honor of our fifth birthday, here are the top 5 ways you can help us carry out our mission in support of authors’ rights!
Authors Alliance, a leader in providing high-quality educational resources that help authors understand and manage their rights, is launching the Authors Alliance Partner Program (A2P2), a new membership option for organizations.
By joining A2P2, organizations can leverage our expertise in copyright, open access, publication contracts, and getting rights back in order to expand the capacity of library and scholarly communications professionals to serve faculty, researchers, and students. Together, we can help authors manage rights throughout their careers and improve the availability and discoverability of knowledge and culture.
Why join A2P2?
Save time and enhance your capacity to provide up-to-date, reliable, and consistent rights management education to authors with our teaching and learning resources.
“Workshops in a box” that contain everything you need to prepare for and deliver workshops on topics that help authors manage rights throughout their publishing lifecycle, from negotiating for author-friendly terms in a publication contract to getting rights back.
Webinars and other professional development resources to support your training activities.
A curated collection of third-party materials that form a one-stop shop for trusted training and curricular resources.
Stay informed with our quarterly newsletter and periodic issue briefs that help you navigate developments in the rapidly changing publishing landscape.
Help steer our resource and policy agenda through priority member channels that offer you the opportunity to weigh in on our advocacy to advance sound copyright policies and provide input that will guide the development of our author-facing resources.
Support the community of authors and institutions working together to expand access to knowledge and culture for the public good.
A2P2 member benefits will be developed and rolled out during a pilot phase, which runs from August 2019 through July 2020. A limited number of discounted A2P2 pilot subscriptions are available. To learn more about being a part of the group that will shape our services during the 2019-2020 academic year, contact us at email@example.com.
We are grateful to Arcadia—a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin—for a grant to support this initiative.
As we celebrate our fifth birthday this May, we’re holding a membership drive to encourage those who are not yet members of Authors Alliance to become a part of our community. Read on for more details! And if you’re already a member, you can help us out by spreading the word to your friends.
Authors and creators of all kinds are welcome to join Authors Alliance. Our members include fiction and nonfiction authors, poets, researchers, and journalists. They are unified by their commitment to have their work be read, seen, and heard.
Members are the first to receive updates on our educational resources and advocacy. They help guide our efforts and are an important source of financial support. Not only that, but membership in Authors Alliance is free!
Authors Alliance provides resources and guidance designed to help creators better understand and leverage their rights. We aim to demystify the contracts, copyright law, institutional policies, and jargon that stand between authors and their audiences.
We give voice to our members and to those authors who share our mission by promoting policies that would make creative works accessible, discoverable, and properly attributed so as to reflect their authors’ contributions to knowledge and culture.
Your membership demonstrates your commitment to the progress of culture and knowledge and makes you the first to receive updates on activities and resources.
Members are our most important source of financial support. Authors Alliance is a public-supported 501(c)(3) organization that relies on members’ tax-deductible donations to run effectively.
We’re committed to making our resources available to all, and membership in Authors Alliance is free (although donations are gratefully accepted).
Last week, the Copyright Office released a report, Authors, Attribution, and Integrity: Examining Moral Rights in the United States, which provides a review of the U.S. moral rights landscape and recommendations for enhancing existing moral rights protections. The Copyright Office identifies three principles that guide its analysis of a U.S. moral rights framework: respecting foundational principles of U.S. law (including the First Amendment, fair use, and limited copyright terms), appreciating the importance creators place on their attribution and integrity interests, and recognizing and respecting the diversity among industry sectors and different types of works.
Based on these principles, the Office concludes there is no need for the creation of a blanket moral rights statute at this time. Instead, the Office recommends that Congress should consider legislation targeted at specific areas, including amending the Lanham Act and the Visual Artists Rights Act (VARA) to better protect attribution and integrity interests, expanding recourse for removal or alteration of copyright management information, and adopting a federal right of publicity law. These recommendations are detailed in the Office’s report.
Although we are disappointed that the Office declined to recommend that Congress consider new statutory moral rights legislation at this time, Authors Alliance commends the Office for recognizing that attribution and integrity provide meaningful incentives to authors to create new works and that the value to authors of reputational enhancement by virtue of public dissemination of their works is meaningful to authors.
Authors Alliance will continue to speak out for the right of authors to be acknowledged as creators of their works. As we wrote in our founding Principles and Proposals for Copyright Reform, attribution serves not only the interests of authors, but also the reading public’s interest in knowing whose works they are consuming and society’s interest in an accurate record of the intellectual heritage of humankind.
April 23 is World Book and Copyright Day, an annual event organized by UNESCO to promote reading, publishing, and copyright around the world. In that spirit, we’ve compiled this list of resources on the topic of accessibility.
Earlier this month, the WIPO Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) held its 38th Session in Geneva. (Although we didn’t attend this session, Authors Alliance has traveled to previous sessions of the SCCR to advocate for reasonable limitations and exceptions to copyright for educational and research purposes.)
In addition to co-authoring the WIPO/SCCR report, Professor Reid also has a new article on Internet Architecture and Disability (forthcoming in the Indiana Law Journal). As the abstract states, “[t]he prevailing doctrinal approach to Internet accessibility seeks to treat websites as metaphorical ‘places’ subject to Title III of the ADA, which requires places of public accommodations to be accessible to people with disabilities. While this place-centric approach to Title III has succeeded to a significant degree in making websites accessible over the last two decades, large swaths of the Internet—more broadly construed to include Internet technologies beyond websites—remain inaccessible to millions of people with a variety of disabilities.”
Also available in pre-print format is the Book Industry Study Group (BISG) Guide to Accessible Publishing (currently in draft for public pre-publication review). This major reference work is a newly updated and greatly expanded edition of the previous 2016 version and contains a comprehensive guide to creating accessible content, a glossary, and a series of “cheat sheets” that break down topics into user-friendly summaries. As the Introduction states, “Maybe someday we’ll be able to stop describing publications as ‘accessible,’ because it will be taken for granted. It’s hoped that this Guide helps us get there.”
Last but by no means least, the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) has released “Getting Started With the Marrakesh Treaty: A Guide for Librarians.” As we’ve written previously, the treaty creates a set of mandatory limitations and exceptions for the benefit of blind, visually impaired, and otherwise print disabled readers. It requires that contracting states enact copyright exceptions that allow books and other creative works to be made available in accessible formats, such as braille and audiobooks, and to allow for the import and export of such materials. Now that over 50 countries around the world (including the United States) have acceded to the Marrakesh Treaty, the IFLA guide—available in five languages—provides hands-on guidance on international copyright issues to libraries to facilitate availability of materials according to the requirements of the treaty.