On March 8, 2022, the National Library and Information System Authority (NALIS) entered into an Authorized Entity Agreement with the Accessible Books Consortium (ABC) of the Geneva based World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). NALIS worked closely with the Trinidad and Tobago Intellectual Property Office (TTIPO) of the Office of the Attorney General and Ministry of Legal Affairs to achieve this objective.
Persons who are Blind, Visually Impaired or otherwise Print Disabled can now have access to a vast amount of information material and literature through the ABC Global Book Service made possible as a result of the signing of the “Authorized Entity” Agreement between NALIS and WIPO. The Authorized Entity Agreement lays down the terms and conditions for the cross-border exchange of Accessible Format Copies among “Authorized Entities” participating in the ABC Global Book Service, which is managed by WIPO, for this category of beneficiaries who are registered members of NALIS libraries.
This historic Agreement follows Trinidad and Tobago’s accession to the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons who are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled (Marrakesh Treaty) on October 4, 2019 and its incorporation into the Copyright Act Chap. 82:80 by Act No. 14 of 2020. This process was overseen by the Office of the Attorney General and Ministry of Legal Affairs through the TTIPO.
NALIS is recognised by the Government to provide educational, instructional training, adaptive reading or information access to the beneficiaries on a non-profit basis.
The signing of this historic Agreement facilitates access to over seven hundred and thirty thousand (730,000) titles in eighty languages in a range of accessible formats for visually impaired and otherwise print disabled persons. This momentous signing is consistent with NALIS’ mandate, as outlined in the NALIS’ Act 18 of 1998 to “provide a national information service for the benefit of the physically disadvantaged and persons in institutions.”
Trinidad and Tobago joins the list of countries from the Caribbean region which already benefit from the ABC such as Antigua and Barbuda, Jamaica and St. Lucia.