The Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons who are Blind, Visually Impaired, or otherwise Print Disabled was adopted by more than 150 countries at the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) Diplomatic Conference hosted by Morocco in Marrakesh, Morocco on 28 June 2013. The treaty will provide access to various books for the print disabled, visually impaired as well as blind.
Marrakesh, Morocco is an important place because at this place itself, the World Trade Organization was established after signing of the treaty on 15 April 1994.
Salient Features of the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons who are Visually Impaired
• The treaty will address the needs of the books for visually impaired. This will be done after the contracting parties will adopt the national law provisions which will allow distribution, reproduction as well as making accessible the published works in easy formats through exceptions and limitations to copyrights.
• The primary aim of the treaty is to bring down the rate of book famine which is faced by the blind i.e., lack of the accessible books format for people who have print disabilities, while at the same time considering international copyright framework.
• The treaty will also facilitate assurance to various publishers as well as authors that the system of this treaty would not lead to misuse or improper distribution of their copyrighted works.
• The treaty is described as Miracle in Marrakesh by the Moroccan Minister of Communications Mustapha Khalfi.
• The treaty also provides for exchanging the accessible format works through the borders by those organisations which serve blind, visually impaired, and print disabled people. Sharing of the works will facilitate increasing the number of works which are available because this would eliminate plagiarism.
In all, there are 285 million visually blind as well as partially-sighted people in world. Maximum percentage of these people lives in India. It is important to note that merely 1 to 7 percent of overall published books are available in the formats which are accessible to them.
About the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) Diplomatic Conference
• The World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) Diplomatic Conference was scheduled from 17 June 2013 to 28 June 2013.
• The conference brought over 600 negotiators from WIPO’s 186 member states together.
• The Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works by Visually Impaired Persons and Persons with Print Disabilities was convened by WIPO on 18 June 2013.