EU Parliament: No Commercial Availability Or Compensation In Marrakesh Implementation 23/03/2017 by Catherine Saez, Intellectual Property Watch 2 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 announced today that its Legal Affairs Committee approved new draft legislation to bring European Union law into line with an international treaty providing copyright exceptions for special format books for visually impaired people. Limitations to the scope of the treaty, such as commercial availability or compensation, were disregarded by Parliament members. According to a European Parliament press release, two legislative resolutions were approved by a vote of 22 to 0, with no abstentions. The resolutions were drafted by Greens/European Free Alliance (EFA) Rapporteur Max Andersson. European Parliament members “agreed that member states should not be allowed to impose any additional requirements on these copyright exceptions, such as compensation schemes for publishers or commercial availability checks prior to the exchange of accessible format books,” said the release. The European Union is working to ratify the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled, which was negotiated under the World Intellectual Property Organization. On 21 March, a leaked text seen by Intellectual Property Watch raised concerns from civil society that it contained clauses limiting the scope of the EU directive implementing the Marrakesh Treaty, under the pressure of the publishing industry lobby (IPW, Europe, 21 March 2018). A source from the Greens/EFA told Intellectual Property Watch that the text of the legislative resolutions is expected to be available next week. According to a European Parliament source, the Parliament and the Council will now start informal negotiations to reach an agreement on the text. Once an informal agreement has been reached, it will have to be formally approved by the Council and the full house of the Parliament, the source told Intellectual Property Watch. A release from the Greens/EFA quoted Andersson after the vote saying, “This is a welcome decision. The treaty must be implemented in a way that delivers on its original promise to make it easy for blind or visually impaired people from all around the world to get improved access to books in suitable formats.” “Strong lobbying from the publishing industry ahead of the vote sought to limit the copyright exceptions in a way that would have completely undermined the purpose of the treaty,” he continued. “Happily, MEPs stood up for the spirit of the agreement, and for the rights of the visually impaired. We hope that a final agreement can be reached by this summer so that the EU can join the rest of the countries that have already ratified the treaty, and that people within and outside of the EU can benefit from books in accessible formats.” David Hammerstein for the World Blind Union told Intellectual Property Watch, “We are very happy. Europe’s democratic representatives have sent a strong message to EU member states that have been obstructing any meaningful progress to end the ‘book famine.’” “Many in the EU Council use the lack of transparency to only listen to lobbyists for the publishers and the copyright industry,” he said. Image Credits: Flickr – JP 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."EU Parliament: No Commercial Availability Or Compensation In Marrakesh Implementation" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.