Abstract: With the adoption of the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons who are Blind, Visually Impaired, or Otherwise Print Disabled in 2013, the international copyright community has shown its willingness to take further steps in the harmonization of limitations and exceptions in the field of copyright. However, the Marrakesh Treaty is only the tip of the iceberg. Its preparation and negotiation took place against the background of a much broader debate over the introduction of so-called “ceilings” in international copyright law: binding rules that set a maximum level of permissible protection. While the Marrakesh Treaty had success and became reality, the bigger project of regulating the ceilings of copyright protection in an international instrument is still pending.
[Creative Commons Urugualy, Link (CC-BY)] El 16 de octubre el Poder Ejecutivo firmó el decreto que reglamenta la excepción al derecho de autor aprobada por el Parlamento en octubre de 2013 en beneficio de personas ciegas o con dificultades para el acceso al texto impreso. Esta reglamentación hace efectivo el Tratado de Marrakech, firmado por nuestro país en 2013 y ratificado al año siguiente.
[Desmond Oriakhogba, reposted from University of Cape Town IP Unit, Link] On 4 October 2017, Nigeria deposited during the 57th meeting of the WIPO general assembly in Geneva four ratification instruments concerning the WIPO Copyright Treaty (WCT) of 1996, the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT) of 1996; the WIPO Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual Performances of 2012 (Beijing Treaty); and the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled of 2013 (Marrakesh Treaty) with the WIPO. The ratification instruments were signed by the President of The Federal Republic of Nigeria (President Muhammadu Buhari) on 24 August 2017.
Consequently, Nigeria has now accepted and undertaken to respect and implement the obligations under these treaties. However, the treaties do not have any force of law within the Nigerian territory unless domesticated (s12 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999) either by an enforcement and domestication Act or by including its provisions in the Copyright Act, Cap C20, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 through an amendment. This piece argues that as we celebrate the ratification of the treaties, there is, however, a great need to pause and ponder on the effect of implementing ‘the standards stipulated in the treaties’ in Nigeria. What impact will the standards in the treaties have on creativity, innovation and access to information for educational purposes in Nigeria? Put broadly, what effect will they have on the knowledge economy and the overall development in Nigeria?
Joint statement by the Internaiontal Federation of Library Associations and the European Bureau of Library, Information and Documentation Associations (Link, CC-BY)
IFLA and EBLIDA sincerely wish to be able to welcome wholeheartedly the compromise agreement on the Marrakesh Treaty Directive reached on 10th May by representatives of the Council of Ministers, the Commission and the Parliament. However, together with the European Blind Union, we reject entirely the notion in the agreement that the fundamental public interest activities of non-profit libraries and charities in creating and sharing accessible format books may, in some Member States, give rise to ‘compensation’ to rightholders.
[Catherine Saez for IP Watch, Link (CC-BY-NC-SA)] As the ratification by the European Union of an international treaty creating an exception to copyright for visually impaired people nears, a leaked text shows that the directive implementing the treaty in the EU might come with safeguards limiting the scope of the treaty, allegedly pushed by the publishing industry.
[Joint Statement] On Monday 16th and Tuesday 17th January, representatives of European governments will discuss draft legislation to implement the Marrakesh Treaty in the European Union (EU).
As IFLA and partner organisations have underlined, this is an opportunity to make a real difference to the lives of people with print disabilities – who cannot pick up and read a book in the same way as everyone else – both in Europe and beyond.
We are, however, aware of efforts to undermine the impact of Marrakesh. This will happen if national governments can oblige libraries and others to pay fees to publishers for making use of their Marrakesh rights, or if they are subject to additional, unnecessary, registration or record-keeping requirements. Both IFLA and EIFL have highlighted the risks of such moves.
[Cross posted from IP-Watch, Link (CC-BY-NC-SA] The supposedly impossible happened: The Marrakesh Treaty entered into force on 30 September, three months after reaching the necessary minimum of 20 ratifications. By then, 22 countries had done so – two more did so during the Marrakesh Assembly. It is the first Treaty to recognize beyond any shadow of doubt that the limitations are essential parts of the copyright system, necessary to its balance and even survival, and, as put by WIPO Director General Francis Gurry, the Marrakesh Treaty “can now begin boosting the number of specially adapted texts for the benefit of blind and otherwise print-disabled people around the world.”
Teresa Hackett, Electronic Information for Libraries, Link (CC-BY)
On 30th September 2016, the Marrakesh Treaty for persons with print disabilities enters into force. The treaty is a game-changer for people who are blind or partially sighted, as well as for libraries that serve people with print disabilities. From now on, in all countries that are party to the treaty, accessible format copies such as Braille, audio, digital and large print can be made on-demand and shared across borders, enabling institutions such as libraries to serve all their users equally – same book, same day. This is because the treaty mandates the making of accessible format copies and sharing across borders, without having to seek permission from rightsholders. In a nutshell, print disabled people can no longer be denied access to books and other reading materials in alternative formats due to copyright restrictions.
International Federation of Library Associations, Link (CC-BY)
The signing of the Treaty of Marrakesh in 2013 was a first step towards providing access to knowledge for some of the most vulnerable in society. It offers a response to the book famine that people with print disabilities have long faced. However, IFLA is concerned that when ratifying the Treaty, some countries risk introducing new barriers to access. This is completely contrary to the spirit of Marrakesh.
WIPO Press Release, Link
Geneva, June 30, 2016
Canada today became the key 20th nation to accede to the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled, which will bring the Treaty into force in three month’s time on September 30, 2016.
[Teresa Hackett, Electronic Information for Libraries, Link (CC-BY)] In the digital environment, librarians deal with questions of copyright every day. But restrictive copyright laws can hinder the library’s efforts to provide access to knowledge. Two global copyright days – UNESCO’s World Book & Copyright Day that took place on 23 April, and WIPO’s World Intellectual Property Day on 26 April – presented a great opportunity to highlight the work that librarians in the EIFL network do to overcome copyright restrictions and serve library users.
We marked the two days with a social media campaign, which also featured EIFL’s wide range of multi-language resources on copyright, and showed how librarians in EIFL partner countries are using the resources to advance their work.
[World Blind Union] The European Blind Union (EBU) and World Blind Union (WBU) have sent a letter to the President of the European Commission, Mr. Jean-Claude Juncker, and Vice-President, Mr. Andrus Ansip, urging them to put an end to the obstruction of the EU’s ratification of the Marrakesh Treaty.