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Marrakesh Treaty entered into force

Ministry of Education and Culture 4.10.2016 13.26 | Published in English on 12.2.2017 at 22.11
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The Marrakesh Treaty, “books for blind” treaty, entered into force on September 30, 2016, three months after it gained the necessary 20 ratifications or accessions by WIPO member states. More than 75 WIPO member states have signed the Treaty, which was adopted on June 27, 2013 at a diplomatic conference organized by WIPO and hosted by the Kingdom of Morocco in Marrakesh. For the Treaty to enter into force, twenty ratifications or accessions were required. So far, 22 countries have joined the pact.

The Marrakesh Treaty facilitates the creation and transfer across national boundaries of specially adapted books for use by visually impaired people and print-disabled persons.

The Marrakesh Treaty addresses the “book famine” by requiring its contracting parties to adopt national law provisions that permit the reproduction, distribution and making available of published works in accessible formats through limitations and exceptions to the rights of copyright rightholders.

It also provides for the exchange of these accessible format works across borders by organizations that serve the people who are blind, visually impaired, and print disabled. It will harmonize limitations and exceptions so that these organizations can operate across borders.

The Treaty is also designed to provide assurances to authors and publishers that that system will not expose their published works to misuse or distribution to anyone other than the intended beneficiaries.

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According to the World Health Organization, there are some 285 million blind and visually impaired persons in the world, 90 percent of whom live in developing countries. A WIPO survey in 2006 found that fewer than 60 countries have limitations and exceptions clauses in their copyright laws that make special provision for visually impaired persons, for example, for Braille, large print or digitized audio versions of copyrighted texts.

According to the World Blind Union, of the million or so books published each year in the world, less than 10 percent are made available in formats accessible to visually impaired persons.

WIPO Director General Francis Gurry video: Watch on YouTube

The Marrakesh Treaty In Action

Source: WIPO PR/2016/794

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