Miracle In Marrakesh: “Historic” Treaty For Visually Impaired Agreed

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Marrakesh, Morocco – The mood was one of celebration at the Marrakesh Palais des Congrès to greet the success of World Intellectual Property Organization negotiators in their attempt to produce a draft treaty text showing consensus. After a difficult start to the week, delegates achieved success and the corridors of the conference centre echoed with laughter and congratulations. Tears of joy were shed as most celebrated this as an historic agreement. Visually impaired people and civil society supporting them were ecstatic, some said overwhelmed.

[Une version française de cet article est disponible ici]

The final informal consolidation draft text [pdf] was issued late at night, and all articles were adopted by a full room of delegates. The text is now off to the drafting committee which will ensure that all different language versions are consistent and compatible.

WIPO members are meeting in Marrakesh, Morocco, from 17-28 June to finalise a treaty on limitations and exceptions to copyright for blind and visually impaired persons, allowing them better cross-border access to books.

For the visually impaired community, this is seen as nothing short of a miracle. After 10 days of hard negotiations, Dan Pescod, who leads the World Blind Union’s European campaign for the treaty, confessing exhaustion, told Intellectual Property Watch before the text was available “part of me wants to see the text in front of me and part of me feels this is an historic day many years in the making.”

Maryanne Diamond, immediate past president of the World Blind Union, told Intellectual Property Watch that all issues that mattered for blind people had been addressed. “We are still in shock,” she said, adding “this is the beginning of changing the world for blind people.”

Pablo Lecuona from the Latin American Blind Union said that for the past five years the blind community had been pushing for recognition of the problem of access to books for visually impaired people. “Now we have a treaty,” he told Intellectual Property Watch, but said they have further work, which is the ratification and the implementation of this treaty so that it is an effective tool so that blind people can access more books.

“I am overwhelmed. It was so hard and it should not have been so hard,” said Jamie Love, a strong supporter of the treaty. “It took five years of hard work when it could have been much quicker but people really changed their mind when they met blind people. You could see a change in attitude in delegates,” he said.

“The European Union and the United States delegates found a way to push back on industry lobbying,” he told Intellectual Property Watch, and even within industry, he added, there was a change of attitude, with some lobbyists pushing back hardliners.

Jim Fruchterman, the head of Benetech, which runs Bookshare, a digital platform providing special format books for visually impaired people, said, “We are extremely excited about the treaty. We have the technology and we have the content, now we have a legal regime to make it possible for every person with print disabilities on the planet to get access to the books they need for education, employment, and social inclusion.”

Delegates Displaying Glee

The level of enthusiasm was the same among delegates, whether from developed, developing or least-developed countries.

Justin Hughes, a US delegate, told Intellectual Property Watch, “It was a pleasure to work with Brazil, and the European Union, and Mexico in the early days to try to get the first collaborative text together. Obviously it feels wonderful to see that text come to fruition.”

Another representative of Group B developed countries said that the text was balanced, as a European Union delegate said, “Everybody is very happy, very satisfied.” A delegate of the African Group said, “It is a miracle.”

In a rare occurrence, all delegations, as well as civil society, celebrated in unison a treaty characterised as serving human rights.

The enthusiasm was not as marked on the side of publishers. A source from the publishing industry told Intellectual Property Watch that the text was “pretty balanced” and that “there was something in it for everyone.” Visibly the text is not to their full satisfaction, but most interviewed said they were happy for visually impaired people.

WIPO Director General Francis Gurry told observers that the treaty had been driven by non-governmental organisations and it was not only a treaty, but a good treaty. He extended “his profound thanks” for what he describes as “a truly historic result.”

“It is a great thing for WIPO, for intellectual property, for the multilateral system, but above all, for visually impaired persons,” Gurry said. He was greeted by sustained applause. Participants widely praised the work of the WIPO secretariat.

After a difficult beginning of the week when progress was very limited on issues on which delegations stood firm, relief first came last Saturday when agreement was reached on the three-step test and the so-called Berne gap (IPW, WIPO, 24 June 2013).

Agreement on Tough Issues

Since then, there was mounting pressure to find agreement and the visually impaired representatives grew worried about the nature of the treaty. Among the issues remaining to be resolved as recently as yesterday were commercial availability, right of distribution to individuals, and right of translation.

The issue of commercial availability, longstanding and pugnacious, was solved yesterday. Visually impaired people and developing countries wanted it out of the treaty, publishers and developed countries wanted it in. Finally, commercial availability still stands under Article 4 (National Law Limitations and Exceptions on Accessible Format Copies), but has disappeared from Article 5 (cross-border exchange of accessible format copies).

The issue of the right of distribution to individuals was settled after “some additional safeguards and some additional information sharing mechanisms” were added to the text, according to Hughes.

The text will come back to plenary to be reviewed and adopted, after having been through the drafting committee, on Thursday morning, said the WIPO secretariat, and countries will give their comments on the treaty at this time.

 

Catherine Saez may be reached at info@ip-watch.ch.

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  1. […] Yesterday, delegates in Marrakesh, Morocco, agreed to a historic treaty that improves accessibility to print materials for the visually impaired. The agreement is being hailed as historic and beneficial while balancing the concerns of all stakeholders. The initial agreement follows a week of negotiations that felt stalled at first, but quickly picked up after several key issues were worked out Monday, June 24. Read more about the treaty and the success of negotiators in this article. […]

  2. […] Envie por e-mail | | Por Equipe Inclusive O acordo foi alcançado com forte participação do Brasil Marrakech, Marrocos – O clima foi de festa na Marraquesh Palais des Congrès para saudar o sucesso dos negociadores da Organização Mundial de Propriedade Intelectual – OMPI, em sua tentativa de elaborar um projeto de texto do tratado de consenso. Depois de um começo de semana difícil, os delegados chegaram a um acordo e os corredores do centro de conferências ecoaram com risos e parabéns. Lágrimas de alegria foram derramadas com a maioria comemorando o acordo histórico. Pessoas com deficiência visual e da sociedade civil estavam em êxtase. O informal projecto de texto final consolidação http://www.ip-watch.org/weblog/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/WIPO-Dipl-Conf-Adopted-Draft-Treaty-June-2013.pdf foi alcançado tarde da noite, e todos os artigos foram adotados por uma sala cheia de pessoas. O texto agora está no comitê de redação que irá garantir que todas as versões linguísticas diferentes sejam consistentes e compatíveis. Membros da OMPI estão reunidos em Marrakesh, Marrocos de 17 a 28 de junho para finalizar o tratado sobre limitações e exceções aos direitos autorais para cegos e deficientes visuais, permitindo-lhes um melhor acesso sem-fronteira aos livros. Para a comunidade de deficientes visuais, isso é visto como nada menos que um milagre. Após 10 dias de duras negociações, Dan Pescod, que lidera a campanha da União Mundial de Cegos – União Europeia para o tratado, confessando exaustão, disse, antes do texto estar disponível “parte de mim quer ver o texto na minha frente e outra parte sente que este é um dia histórico de muitos anos na tomada. “ Maryanne Diamond, ex-presidente  da União Mundial de Cegos, disse  que todas as questões que importavam para os cegos tinham sido abordadas. “Nós ainda estamos em choque”, disse ela, acrescentando que “este é o começo de mudar o mundo para as pessoas cegas.” Pablo Lecuona da União de Cegos da América Latina, disse que nos últimos cinco anos, a comunidade cega pressionou para o reconhecimento do problema do acesso aos livros para pessoas com deficiência visual. “Agora temos um tratado”, mas completou que eles têm ainda trabalho pela frente, que é a ratificação e implementação deste tratado nos países para que ele seja uma ferramenta eficaz para que as pessoas cegas podem ter acesso a mais livros. “Estou impressionado. Foi tão difícil … não deveria ter sido tão difícil “, disse Jamie Love, um forte defensor do tratado. “Demorou cinco anos de trabalho duro, quando poderia ter sido muito mais rápido, mas as pessoas realmente mudaram de idéia quando eles se conheceram pessoas cegas. Você pode ver uma mudança de atitude em muitos delegados “, disse ele. “Os delegados da União Europeia e Estados Unidos encontraram uma maneira de contornar o lobby da indústria”, até mesmo dentro da indústria, acrescentou, houve uma mudança de atitude, com alguns lobistas empurrando dando pra trás. Jim Fruchterman, o chefe da Benetech, da Bookshare, uma plataforma digital que fornece livros  de formato especial para as pessoas com deficiência visual, disse: “Estamos extremamente entusiasmados com o tratado. Nós temos a tecnologia e temos o conteúdo, agora temos um regime jurídico para tornar possível a todas as pessoas com deficiência no planeta obter acesso aos livros que eles precisam para a educação, emprego e inclusão social. “ Delegados Exibindo Glee O nível de entusiasmo era o mesmo entre os delegados dos países menos desenvolvidos, dos países desenvolvidos ou em desenvolvimento. Justin Hughes, um delegado dos EUA, disse “Foi um prazer trabalhar com o Brasil, a União Europeia e México nos primeiros dias para tentar obter o primeiro texto de colaboração em conjunto. Obviamente é maravilhoso ver o texto vir a ser concretizado. “ Outro representante dos países desenvolvidos do Grupo B, disse que o texto foi equilibrado, como um delegado da União Europeia: “Todo mundo está muito feliz, muito satisfeito.” Um delegado do Grupo Africano, disse, “é um milagre.” Em uma ocorrência rara, todas as delegações, bem como a sociedade civil, celebrado em uníssono um tratado que tem a características de servir os direitos humanos. O entusiasmo não foi tão marcado no lado de editores. Uma fonte da indústria editorial disse que o texto era “muito equilibrado” e que “havia algo nele para todo mundo.” Visivelmente o texto não é a sua plena satisfação, mas a maioria dos entrevistados disse que estava feliz pelas pessoas com deficiência visual. O Diretor Geral da OMPI Francis Gurry,  disse aos observadores que o tratado tinha sido impulsionado por organizações não-governamentais e não era apenas um tratado, mas um bom tratado. Ele estendeu “sua profunda gratidão” para o que ele descreve como “um resultado verdadeiramente histórico”. “É uma grande coisa para a OMPI, para a propriedade intelectual, para o sistema multilateral, mas, acima de tudo, para as pessoas com deficiência visual”, disse Gurry. Ele foi saudado por aplausos. Os participantes elogiaram amplamente o trabalho do secretariado da WIPO. Depois de um começo  de semana difícil, quando o progresso era muito limitado em questões sobre as quais as delegações resistiram, o alívio veio pela primeira vez no último sábado, quando foi alcançado um acordo sobre o teste de três etapas e o chamado gap de Berna (IPW, a OMPI, 24 de junho de 2013 ). Acordo sobre questões difíceis Desde então, houve pressão para encontrar um acordo e os representantes com deficiência visual ficaram preocupados com a natureza do tratado. Entre as questões pendentes que só foram resolvidas ontem, estão a disponibilidade comercial, direito de distribuição para os indivíduos e direito de tradução. A questão da disponibilidade comercial foi resolvida ontem. Pessoas com deficiência visual e países em desenvolvimento queriam que isso ficasse fora do tratado, os editores e os países desenvolvidos queriam que fosse incluído. Finalmente, a disponibilidade comercial ainda está no artigo 4 (Limitações e Exceções em Formato Acessível ), mas desapareceu do artigo 5 º (cross -border troca de formato cópias acessíveis). A questão do direito de distribuição a pessoas físicas foi resolvido depois de “algumas garantias adicionais e alguns mecanismos adicionais de partilha de informação” e foram adicionadas ao texto, de acordo com Hughes. O texto voltará ao plenário para ser analisado e adotado, depois de ter sido através do comitê de redação, na quinta-feira de manhã, disse o secretariado da WIPO, e países vão apresentar as suas observações sobre o tratado nesta ocasião. Fonte: http://www.ip-watch.org/2013/06/26/miracle-in-marrakesh-historic-treaty-for-visually-impaired-agreed… […]

  3. […] Intellectual Property Watch, by Catherine Saez (Marrakesh, Morocco, June 26, 2013) – The mood was one of celebration at the Marrakesh Palais des Congrès to greet the success of World Intellectual Property Organization negotiators in their attempt to produce a draft treaty text showing consensus. After a difficult start to the week, delegates achieved success and the corridors of the conference centre echoed with laughter and congratulations. Tears of joy were shed as most celebrated this as an historic agreement. Visually impaired people and civil society supporting them were ecstatic, some said overwhelmed.The final informal consolidation draft text [pdf] was issued late at night, and all articles were adopted by a full room of delegates. The text is now off to the drafting committee which will ensure that all different language versions are consistent and compatible. […]

  4. […] Jim Fruchterman, the head of Benetech, which runs Bookshare, a digital platform providing special format books for visually impaired people, said, “We are extremely excited about the treaty. We have the technology and we have the content, now we have a legal regime to make it possible for every person with print disabilities on the planet to get access to the books they need for education, employment, and social inclusion.” –Catherine Saez, Intellectual Property Watch […]

  5. […] The Miracle in Marrakesh was greeted with a standing ovation. Stevie Wonder will perform. This treaty will change the lives of the blind, visually impaired and otherwise print disabled persons around the world as it is implemented. The focus must now shift to implementation of this treaty and the active sharing of books across borders. […]

  6. […] No official reason was given, but according to a source, the postponement originated from member states in meetings between the regional coordinators and the WIPO secretariat. Member states appear to have indicated a wish for more time to consider the committee agenda in the aftermath of the major treaty completed in late June. WIPO members concluded the treaty on copyright exceptions and limitations for the blind and other print-disabled in Marrakesh, Morocco (IPW, WIPO, 26 June 2013). […]

  7. […] She mentioned the recently agreed-upon Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired, or Otherwise Print Disabled, as the first instance that WIPO has developed an agreement not around increasing IP protection but which focusses on exceptions and limitations to promote human rights (IPW, WIPO, 26 June 2013). […]

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