09 Fév Almost three years on, the Marrakech treaty is still waiting to come into effect.

In an article written by Julia Reda last week (read it here) in which Reda revisited the progress of ‘the Marrakech treaty’ almost three years after it was finalised – a finger was pointed at European governments, highlighting the holdup blocking the treaty from coming into effect.

The treaty (meant to facilitate access to published works by people living with visual impairments by harmonising copyright exceptions internationally), has stalled in it’s progress.

Right now, in Europe  »…only five percent of all books are published in a format accessible to people who are blind or have visual impairments, such as with large print, braille print or as an audiobook. »

In order for the Marrakech treaty to come into effect, it first has to be ratified by 20 of the 79 signees and yet, almost three years down the line only 13 have managed to do so. In response to the inaction, the European parliament published a resolution on it’s website saying it  »Recalls that Articles 24 and 30 of the UN CRPD emphasise the right of persons with disabilities to education, without discrimination and on the basis of equal opportunity, while ensuring that laws protecting intellectual property rights do not constitute an unreasonable or discriminatory barrier to access by persons with disabilities to cultural materials ».

According to Reda’s article, Europe plays a defining role in bringing the Marrakech treaty into full effect from a territorial copyright perspective and the limits to access which come alongside that, but some concerned parties, notably the German government that of the United Kingdom; question the European Union’s competency when it comes to ratifying the treaty on behalf of the entire union.

In the meantime, the issue of limitation directly hindering the visually impaired remains in place much to the despair of  those who view the stagnation as a simple and unethical deprivation of ‘knowledge and culture’ to the visually impaired.

The question as to whether or not the EU is, in fact, competent enough to ratify the treaty for the entire union has been put to the European Court of Justice and the decision is expected to take a few months with the possibility of member states ratifying separately – which of course will be another lengthy process.


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