News

Marrakech Treaty on copyright: huge step towards barrier-free culture for millions of blind and partially-sighted

Marrakech Treaty on copyright: huge step towards barrier-free culture for millions of blind and partially-sighted

2013. 06. 28.

Ádám Kósa, author of the parliamentary report on the mobility and inclusion of people with disabilities and the 2010-2020 European Disability Strategy, underlined: "The adoption of this document is a joint success for the European Parliament and the European Commission, who fought hard for the Treaty. After its entry-into-force, blind people will not be refused access to books the general public can read. Millions of blind people will have much better access to copyrighted works in the future, which, in turn, will open up better training and education options and thus better job opportunities on the labour market.

This is also essential for Europe, which will face significant labour-market challenges in the near future due to the ageing of its population. I expect that the new Accessibility Act the Commission is about to present this autumn will also contribute significantly to easing the life of the millions of disabled people throughout Europe, as well as helping the European economy’s prospects in the long-run."

Background: The Marrakech Treaty will require signatory members to introduce copyright exceptions to meet the visually-impaired's needs through the creation of special national authorities (entities) that will be responsible for providing accessible content in close cooperation with the relevant NGOs. The Treaty, based on international copyright conventions, has been designed to respect the rights of authors and maintain the inspiration of artists. The new Treaty creates a mandatory exception to copyright that allows organisations for blind people to produce, distribute and make available accessible format copies to visually-impaired persons without the authorisation of the rightholder. It also allows for cross-border exchange of these copies, subject to the so-called three-step test requirement that ensures that the rights of rightholders are not unduly restricted. The Marrakech Treaty will enter into force after ratification by twenty States. According to the World Blind Union, there are an estimated 285 million blind and partially-sighted people living worldwide and only 5% of published books are available in special formats today.