The Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) has assured publishers that in collaboration with the Nigerian Association of the Blind (NAB), it would provide the requisite technical support to facilitate the production of books in accessible formats until publishers align with the new model.
Director-General, NCC, Dr. John O. Asein, stated this on Tuesday, 27th September 2022 during a Virtual Special Google Awareness Meeting on Accessible Publishing, a collaborative programme between the NCC, Nigerian Publishers Association (NPA), World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) and NAB.
Dr. Asein, in his statement, reaffirmed the commitment of the Commission in working closely with publishers to ensure that more blind people were able to read in line with the slogan, ‘Let the blind read’.
While calling for intensified collaboration with the NPA in the production of books in accessible formats, he informed that the NCC was already engaged in discussions with the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), the Nigeria Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC) and other agencies for the inclusion of a national policy that would enable the deployment of Government funds for publishing books that are borne accessible.
He called for the support of NPA in pushing this policy to make more books available in their repository.
The Director-General further stated that it has become imperative to take practical steps to make books available for the blind because the insertion of the clause in the new Copyright Bill would be of no effect if it was left unattended to.
He urged publishers to leverage on the opportunities that WIPO and other development partners were providing in terms of training and funding to explore accessible publishing in view of the huge market and demands from libraries and individuals who want to have access to the materials.
In her remarks, Ms Monica Halil, a representative of Accessible Book Construction (ABC), a public private partnership headed by the WIPO, said the core activity of the organisation in the implementation of the Marrakesh Treaty was the promotion of accessible publishing.
She encouraged those who want to exploit e-publications that “there is the right market with legal requirements for people who are practice able”.
She urged publishers to sign into the ABC Charter for accessible publishing for proper guidance, noting that leveraging on the trainings by the African Publishing Intervention Fund, by registering, would help them in accessing funds for production of accessible books.
The online meeting provided an avenue to address concerns of publishers in the area of producing books in accessible formats and how to make the materials available so that the blind and visually impaired persons can have access to books.