In a momentous occasion for persons with print disabilities, June 30th 2016 saw Canada become the 20th country to ratify the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled (Marrakesh Treaty). The significance of this 20th ratification, (almost exactly three years since the date of adoption) is due to Article 18 of the Treaty which provides that the Treaty shall come into force 3 months after the 20th country ratifies it – thus setting 30th September 2016 up for the Marrakesh Treaty to finally become a reality!
As many of our readers already know, this treaty provides exceptions to copyright in order to provide access to published materials to the blind, visually disabled, and otherwise print disabled persons. With the coming into force of this Treaty, countries that have ratified it will finally be able to exchange accessible format copies across their borders. This is especially good news for countries such as India, where accessible formats are very hard to get.
The 20 countries that have ratified the treaty are India, El Salvador, United Arab Emirates, Mali, Uruguay, Paraguay, Singapore, Argentina, Mexico, Mongolia, South Korea, Australia, Brazil, Peru, North Korea, Israel, Chile, Ecuador, Guatemala and Canada. It is pertinent to note that the United States is not a part of this Treaty as yet.
India was the very first country to ratify this Treaty in 2014, and thanks to the efforts of Rahul Cherian and others, back in 2012 had already brought in domestic legislation amendments which were in line with the treaty would eventually go on to say. Read Aparajita’s post on the salient features of this Treaty here, and Rahul’s more recent post on translating Marrakesh into a reality here.
This is a great victory for disability rights and for persons with print disabilities. It is hoped that this Treaty will find more takers, so as to provide information access and open doors to education, knowledge and employment especially for the visually disabled in the developing world. Being home to approximately 20% of the world’s blind population, India shall further continue to set an example for other nations and implore them to ratify the Treaty without delay.
We shall be bringing you a more detailed post on the implications of this Treaty in the coming week.
(Image from here)