+27 12 452 3811 & +27 63 686 8098 helpdesk@sancb.org.za

Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired, or Otherwise Print Disabled”.

The goal of the Treaty is to help to end the book famine faced by people who are blind, visually impaired or otherwise print disabled. Currently only some 1-7per cent of the world’s published books ever make it into accessible formats. This is partly due to access barriers in copyright law- something the treaty helps to remove. It does that in two main ways.

Firstly, by requiring countries which ratify the Treaty to have an exception to domestic copyright law for visually impaired and print disabled people. This means that countries which ratify the treaty must ensure their laws allow blind people and their organisations to make accessible format books without the need to ask permission first from the holder of copyright (e.g. author or publisher).

Secondly, by allowing for import and export of accessible versions of books and other copyrighted works, again without copyright holder permission. This will help to avoid the duplication of transcription efforts in different countries, and also allow those with larger collections of accessible books to share these collections with visually impaired people in countries with fewer resources.

Only so-called “authorised entities”, such as blind people’s organisations, can send accessible books under the treaty’s terms. However, the Treaty allows accessible books to be imported / received either by other “authorised entities” or directly by visually impaired / print disabled individuals. 

Join the SA National Council for the Blind and the following African countries: Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Morocco, Mozambique, Nigeria, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sudan, Togo, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania and Zimbabwe, now in the worldwide campaign for the ratification and implementation of the WIPO Marrakesh Treaty.

The goal is now for universal ratification and effective implementation.