WIPO Treaty On Copyright Exceptions For Visually Impaired Enters In Force 30/06/2016 by Catherine Saez, 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)The World Intellectual Property Organization treaty to facilitate access to books in special formats for visually impaired people will enter into effect, as the 20th member state acceded to the treaty today. As a result of the accessions, the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled will enter into effect on 30 September 2016, according to sources. The treaty is expected to allow visually impaired people to have better access to books in particular by establishing an exception to copyright and allowing the cross-border exchange of copyrighted books in special format. The Marrakesh Treaty was adopted in June 2013 in Marrakesh, Morocco (IPW, WIPO, 26 June 2013). WIPO Director General Francis Gurry in a video message hailed the “good news.” “We now need many more countries to join this treaty,” he said, “so as to create a world in which blind persons truly have the opportunity to participate in literacy in the same way the seeing persons do.” According to WIPO, Canada was the 20th accession, preceded a day earlier by Ecuador and Guatemala. “Just four days ago the world’s blind community were celebrating the third anniversary of the approval of the Marrakesh Treaty for visually impaired and print disabled persons,” Christopher Friend, World Blind Union Technical Advisor for the Marrakesh Treaty, told Intellectual Property Watch. “Yesterday, Wednesday, celebrations continued with the accession of our 18th and 19th Member States: Ecuador and Guatemala. Today our celebrations go into top gear as Canada delivered its ratification document being the 20th country to ratify or accede to the Treaty,” he said. “That was the magic number we needed in order for the treaty to become operational. In three months time, on 30th September, the treaty will officially go into force, But only for those 20 countries that have ratified or exceeded to the Treaty so far. There are a further 170 countries whose blind communities implore their governments to ratify or exceed to the treaty without delay so that they also can benefit from a greater accessibility for reading materials and mthe chance to share books across borders with other countries,” he added. “This is fantastic news,” said Dan Pescod of the World Blind Union, which helped author the original proposal that led to the treaty. “WBU, our friends in civil society and indeed many governments worked hard for many years to get to this point. The book famine continues, however. We therefore need all countries to ratify the Marrakech Treaty without delay. Full ratification will mean that blind, partially sighted and other print disabled people will be able to access vastly more book titles, whether for education and pleasure.” Teresa Hackett, EIFL Copyright and Libraries Programme Manager, told Intellectual Property Watch: “Libraries [in the ratifying countries] will be allowed for the first time to exchange accessible format copies, created on demand, with libraries in other countries. This transforms information access for persons with print disabilities and opens doors to knowledge, education, employment and personal development especially for those in the developing world.” “It also opens doors to funding opportunities for the specialized equipment and training that is needed because, for the first time, there exists an international legal framework to enable the cross-border sharing of accessible formats,” she said. “EIFL looks forward to working with libraries on this global transformation. It’s a truly great day for everyone involved!” The Marrakesh Treaty contracting parties now are: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Ecuador, South Korea, El Salvador, Guatemala, India, Israel, Mali, Mexico, Mongolia, Paraguay, Peru, North Korea, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, and Uruguay. Image Credits: Flickr – J P Davidson 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 Catherine Saez may be reached at email@example.com."WIPO Treaty On Copyright Exceptions For Visually Impaired Enters In Force" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.