EU Joins WIPO Marrakesh Treaty For Visually Impaired, Boosts Available Books 01/10/2018 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 European Union has ratified the global treaty establishing copyright exceptions for visually impaired people today at the World Intellectual Property Organization, bringing the total rapidly growing membership to 70 and increasing the number of available books. Accessing the treaty is just part of the work, according to a global librarian association, as implementation of the treaty is key to accessibility for visually impaired people. The group published its 2018 monitoring report of the treaty implementation. WIPO Director General Francis Gurry (center left) with EU representatives The accession to the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled by the EU took place during the WIPO General Assembly being held from 24 September to 2 October. It brings the Marrakesh membership from 42 to 70. WIPO Director General Francis Gurry mentioned at the beginning of the General Assemblies that the Marrakesh Treaty was the fastest moving of the WIPO treaties. In a WIPO press release today, he urged more countries to join the treaty. Some countries, such as the United States and Japan, said during the Assembly that they are preparing to join the treaty. According to a European Commission press release, “the deposit was carried out by Ambassador Elisabeth Tichy-Fisslberger of Austria, which currently holds the Presidency of the Council of the EU, and Claire Bury, Deputy Director-General for Communications Networks, Content and Technologies at the European Commission.” The EU will effectively become a party to the treaty as of 1 January 2019, the release said. The Marrakesh Treaty “is the first international treaty in the field of copyright that the EU becomes part of on the basis of its exclusive external competence, it said. On 28 September, the Marrakesh Treaty Assembly took note of the status of the Marrakesh Treaty [pdf], and the report of the Accessible Book Consortium (ABC), a public-private partnership facilitating access to special format book for visually impaired people. According to the ABC report [pdf], the joining of the EU will bring the number of titles to be available for cross-border exchange in the ABC Global Book Service to over 270,000 titles. Those titles are available without the need to obtain authorisation from the copyright owners, the report said. Implementation of Treaty, Monitoring Report Separately, the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) published the 2018 edition of its monitoring report [pdf] of the implementation of the Marrakesh Treaty. According to IFLA, the federation shows where progress in implementation is needed to improve national laws. It is periodically reviewing “whether governments have passed the necessary national laws to make a reality of Marrakesh.” The Marrakesh Treaty allows removal of the obligation to seek permission to make or share copies of books in accessible format for visually impaired people but some member states may reintroduce obligations to pay right holders, the report says. “Governments can also do more or less to favour access to people with other disabilities (such as people experiencing deafness).” The monitoring report looks at whether each country is already a member to the treaty of discussing its accession, at remuneration, commercial availability, registration obligation, additional record-keeping requirements, whether people with dyslexia are included, and whether people with other disabilities are included. Performing the best are the Czech Republic, Ireland, Sweden, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom, which succeeded in having a good review on all indicators. Image Credits: WIPO. Photo: Violaine Martin 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."EU Joins WIPO Marrakesh Treaty For Visually Impaired, Boosts Available Books" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.