International Treaty for the Access of the Blind to Books

Image result for International Treaty for the Access of the Blind to BooksA long-standing international copyright treaty is expected to be concluded Thursday in Marrakesh, Morocco, to allow hundreds of millions of blind and partially sighted people to have better access to books.

A long-standing international copyright treaty is expected to conclude Thursday in Marrakesh, Morocco, to allow hundreds of millions of blind and partially sighted people to have better access to books published around the world said Wednesday close source negotiations.

Several hundred negotiators from the 186 member countries of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) have been meeting for a week in Marrakech (South) to finalize a treaty to overcome this issue of copyright, which limits access visually impaired to culture.
According to the World Blind Union (WBU), of the one million books published each year, less than 5% ” are published in formats accessible to the visually impaired “. These are some 314 million, 90% of which are in developing countries, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

” We have a treaty! It was adopted in the night (Tuesday to Wednesday, ed) by the main committee of the diplomatic conference ,” said Wednesday to AFP a source close to the negotiations. The text “will be presented at the plenary session on Thursday, and the signing ceremony will take place on Friday,” added the source. “We are very happy, like all associations of the blind and civil society, it is a huge victory (…) that will change the lives of millions of people in a very concrete way,” he said. AFP the director of the NGO KEI (Knowledge Ecology International), present in Morocco.

The exact content of the future ” Marrakesh Treaty ” is not yet known. But, according to WIPO, the project was to obtain copyright waivers from 186 countries for the formats concerned – including Braille -, particularly in terms of ” cross-border trade “. This treaty is intended to crown more than ten years of negotiations when, apart from ” limitations and exceptions “, international law requires the authorization of the author and / or the payment of royalties for any use of a protected work.

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The Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, which dates back to 1886, provides for ” exceptions ” to copyright, while leaving it to the national authorities to clarify them, which has resulted in a ” maquilla “according to WIPO. Promoters of a treaty for the visually impaired were able to build on the adoption in 2006 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which states that ” laws protecting intellectual property rights must not constitute an unreasonable or discriminatory barrier to the access of persons with disabilities to cultural products “.

In Marrakech, the NGOs had put pressure on the delegations, some of whom expressed their fear of opening up excessive loopholes in copyright. On Monday, a sit-in was organized by the UMA to urge “to take into consideration the noble humanitarian aspect of this treaty “. ” We are at the dawn of a crucial period in history, ” said American singer-songwriter Stevie Wonder in a message broadcast at the opening of the conference. ” If you manage to adopt this treaty over the next few days, I promise you to come to Marrakech to share the celebrations, ” he added.