Historic Treaty For Visually Impaired Adopted

Ministry of Education and Culture 27.6.2013 16.02
News item

International negotiators meeting under the auspices of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) adopted today a landmark new treaty that boosts access to books for the benefit of hundreds of millions of people who are blind, visually impaired and print-disabled.

The treaty is the culmination of years of work on improving access for the blind, visually impaired, and print disabled to published works in formats such as Braille, large print text and audio books. The treaty is to be signed by national delegations on Friday June 28th. It will enter into force after it has been ratified by 20 WIPO members that agree to be bound by its provisions.

The treaty, called the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons who are Blind, Visually Impaired, or otherwise Print Disabled, 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. The treaty reiterates the requirement that the cross-border sharing of works created based on limitations and exceptions must be limited to certain special cases which do not conflict with the normal exploitation of the work and do not unreasonable prejudice the legitimate interests of the rightholder.

The treaty calls for cooperation among its contracting parties in order to foster cross-border exchanges. The parties are committed to increasing the availability of published works as quickly as possible, and this cooperation will be an important step toward achieving that goal.

Source: Media Relations Section at WIPO

Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons who are Blind, Visually Impaired, or otherwise Print Disabled