EU Adoption Of Marrakesh Treaty For Blind Readers Imminent After Years Of Delay? 01/02/2017 by Monika Ermert for Intellectual Property Watch 3 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 European Parliament Legal Committee this week did not bother to further discuss the ratification of the Marrakesh Treaty on copyright exceptions for print disabled persons. Instead, Rapporteur Max Andersson declared that he favoured putting the file to a vote right away. Andersson told Intellectual Property Watch that the parliament would adopt the report in March or latest April. Stevie Wonder welcomes the adoption of the Marrakesh Treaty in 2013 “It requires swift implementation,” and the majority of the members of the European Parliament were eager to cast that vote, Andersson said on 31 January. To allow for a little more time for deliberation in the Culture Committee, the vote now is expected to take place in a month. World Intellectual Property Organization members adopted the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons who are Blind, Visually Impaired, or Otherwise Print Disabled in 2013. Since 2014, ratification of the copyright exemption has been derailed in the European Union, mostly due to a competency dispute between Council and Commission. After the Advocate General of the European Court of Justice cleared the way confirming that the Commission had the competency to cut the deal last September (IPW, Access to Knowledge/Education, 14 September 2016) the work finally resumed. While Andersson expects a broad compromise on 100 amendments to his report, the European Blind Union and the World Blind Union both warned against proposals to compensate publishers, even after the beneficiaries of the new exemption – NGOs or libraries – produce the accessible versions of copyrighted works. EBU President Wolfgang Angermann said his organisation is concerned over proposed modifications to recital 11 in the document that will implement the necessary changes in existing EU copyright legislation. The proposals, according to Angermann, are aimed at strictly limiting the copyright exception foreseen in the Marrakesh Treaty to books that are not commercially available. “’If you can buy a book you can’t borrow’ seems to be the lobbying position of some stakeholders in the intellectual property field when dealing with the Marrakesh Treaty,” Angermann said. Some stakeholders want “to empty the library bookshelves and say that only the books that cannot be bought can be made available.” Another point that might undermine the goal to improve access of disabled was the demand for compensatory remuneration. Stephen Wyber, policy and research officer at the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), added that libraries which had produced the accessible copies should not have to pay supplementary remuneration to publishers on top of that, as they are working with limited public budgets. Also, if commercial availability is not clearly defined it is a problem for libraries. For example, when a large print format is available from a publisher but the print is too small for disabled people, they would be blocked from using the exception. David Hammerstein, speaking for the World Blind Union, warned especially against letters from German government representatives that called on the European Parliament to include secondary right holders’ compensation rights into the ratification documents. Such secondary rights were not even discussed on the European level. The EU Council of Ministers will have to decide on the ratification documents, too. But there are no dates set for this last step as of now. Image Credits: Flickr – WIPO 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 Monika Ermert may be reached at email@example.com."EU Adoption Of Marrakesh Treaty For Blind Readers Imminent After Years Of Delay?" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.