Ratification Of Marrakesh Treaty For The Blind Postponed In Europe? 08/05/2015 by Intellectual Property Watch 4 Comments Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)By Monika Ermert for Intellectual Property Watch The German Federation of Blind and Partially Sighted today sounded the alarm over another dispute about the “Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled”. The German and the Italian governments are blocking a compromise on the path for ratification in the European Union, the Blind Federation said in a press release. The EU Council of Ministers is expected to take a decision on the ratification next week. [Update:] According to the Latvian Presidency, the EU ratification of the Marrakesh Treaty was not on the agenda for 11 May. The presidency currently is working to resolve the differences over competency between the majority and a blocking minority of member states. In addition, to facilitate the process the presidency had proposed to request the Commission to come up with a legislative proposal adapting the EU law to the Marrakesh Treaty. This was on the agenda of the General Affairs Council of 19 May. [end update] The Marrakesh Treaty was negotiated at the World Intellectual Property Organization in June 2013. The reason for the disagreement, a German Federation spokesperson told Intellectual Property Watch, is that the German government is of the opinion that the treaty should be ratified as a so-called mixed agreement. “Transborder exchange of books for the blind would fall under economic law for which the Union was competent,” the federation for the blind said. Changes in national copyright law to implement access to German books to allow making the copies in specific formats would fall under national copyright law. A spokesperson of the German Ministry of Justice confirmed that there was a dispute about whether the Marrakesh Treaty is a mixed agreement or falls under the sole competency of the EU. “It is not an issue at all over the substantial text of the agreement,” the spokesperson told Intellectual Property Watch. Instead, the legal competence issue is what caused the delay. The question of who is competent has resulted in many discussions between governments and EU Commission, also in other dossiers, for example trade agreements. “It is unfortunate that it is the Marrakesh Treaty that is held up this time,” the Justice spokesperson said. The German government signed the treaty last summer and was in favor of ratifying it. Wolfgang Angermann, president of the European Blind Union, sharply criticised the German government. “The objection by the German Government is not about legal formalities, it is about lack of political will,” he said. Angermann called on the German government to agree to a proposal on the table that would allow the EU to ratify, but make it possible for individual member states to decide if they want to become a party. If a decision can be made during a Council meeting on Monday, the spokesperson of the German Blind Federation warned, a deferral of the issue to the European Court of Justice is possible resulting in a long delay for implementation of a treaty that already has taken years to finalise. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Related "Ratification Of Marrakesh Treaty For The Blind Postponed In Europe?" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.