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Saturday, June 1, 2013

Your signature is needed

Please read the blow information from Bookshare and sign the
online petition. This is very important for people who are
blind, visually impaired, DeafBlind or people who have other
"print disabilities."

Thank you,


You may already be aware, but for years negotiations have been
moving forward on
what many have come to call the "Treaty for the Blind." The goal
of the international treaty is to make it possible for people who
are blind, or have
other print disabilities such as dyslexia, to get access to the
books they need for education, employment and inclusion in
society-no matter where they live.
It's something we already do, with great success, in the United
States through
However, private interests are trying to alter the treaty in
such a way that it
would become useless-even harmful. For example, they're trying
to get language adopted that basically says: "if you can buy it,
you can't borrow it." This is not only an attack on people
around the world with print disabilities-it's also
an attack on libraries, like Bookshare, and could have a drastic
effect on the number of books you have access to.

Our biggest worry is this becoming a treaty that could stop
Bookshare from
serving our users in the United States the way we do today.�We
need our
government negotiating for a treaty that supports a library like

That's why we're working with a coalition of disability and
library groups,
including the National Federation of the Blind and the American
Council of the
Blind, to fight back against the proposed changes by these
private interests.
We'll do everything we can to secure a treaty that both protects
the access we
have now and that will benefit people with print disabilities
around the world-but we need your help.

We're asking you to take a moment to sign a petition on the
White House's
website that urges the President to step up his support: If
we can get to 100,000 signatures, the White House is required to
respond to the petition and will, hopefully, take positive
action. With your help we know we can reach that number.�We also
recommend the petition at the National
Federation of the Blind's site, which is particularly

Thank you for your time and support. Together, we believe that
our collective
voice can make a real impact.

If you're interested in more background on the treaty, here are
some articles
and resources you can review:

* Huffington Post piece by Jim on how the treaty is being
poisoned by private

* WIRED Magazine article that gives some recent updates on
the treaty:
Jim Fruchterman & Betsy Beaumon, Bookshare

P.S. Please post the link to the White House petition on your
social media to help spread the word and get your friends
involved! Again, here is the link:

Note: this advocacy effort by Benetech, the nonprofit
organization that operates
Bookshare, has not been supported or endorsed by Bookshare
funders, including
the U.S. Department of Education. �

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