[A2k] Why a WIPO Treaty can change lives - ELVIS is the answer in Lithuania

Teresa Hackett teresa.hackett at eifl.net
Thu Jun 27 04:12:16 PDT 2013


Why a WIPO Treaty for Persons with Print Disabilities can change lives

EIFL supports the conclusion of an effective treaty for the benefit of
print disabled people at the Diplomatic Conference in Marrakesh, 17-28
June 2013. By ‘effective’ we mean an international copyright framework
that will make a real difference to the lives of blind, visually
impaired and print disabled people around the world.

The Lithuanian Library for the Blind (LAB) is a state-designated
library with a mandate to ensure that blind and visually impaired
people have equal rights to access information, participate in social
life and learn about Lithuanian culture. LAB is the only producer of
talking books – about 200 titles annually - in Lithuania. In 2010 a
Virtual Library for the Blind (known as ELVIS), co-funded by the

European Regional Development Fund, was established to provide
materials in DAISY and other digital formats to end-users. Since then,
approx. 205 registered users (who are blind, low sighted or have a
print disability) can download or stream about 7,000 digital audio
publications that has helped to empower readers who can use library
materials independently, at any time from the comfort of home, and in
high quality.

Special format material is available in the Lithuanian language only.
“However, there are national minorities in our country who need
literature in other languages”, said Rasa Januseviciene, Director,
Lithuanian Library for the Blind. “We would love to cooperate with
libraries that have materials in Russian and Polish, because books in
these languages are in demand among our senior readers (who constitute
the greater part of the LAB readership). At a recent conference in
Crimea, we established contacts with libraries for the blind in Moscow
and St Petersburg, but exchanging material may be difficult because of
copyright law”.

In addition, Lithuanians with a visual disability who are living in
other countries would like to get reading material via ELVIS in their
own language. “We have been contacted in a couple of cases by
emigrants from

Lithuania living in Ireland, Norway and Germany. As the service
develops, we can envisage increased demand from qualified users living
abroad. We are very happy to witness international treaty negotiations
to improve access for people with print disabilities no matter what
country they live in, or what language they speak”, said Rasa.

Supported by the Lithuanian Research Library Consortium (LMBA)

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