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Treaty will ensure accessible formats are more widely available

June 2016
A sightless boy writes Braille during a lesson at the Union Malienne des Aveugles, Bamako, Mali.

“This will enable visually impaired people to access published materials on an equitable basis”

The Marrakesh Treaty, which aims to make reading material more widely available in accessible formats such as braille, will be brought into force on 30 September 2016 after  Canada became the 20th nation to accede.

The Treaty requires nations to impose limitations and exceptions to copyright to permit the reproduction and distribution of published works in accessible formats, such as braille. It aims to help combat the ‘book famine’, which has seen people who are blind and visually impaired excluded from reading published works because of copyright limitations across borders.

More than 75 WIPO member states have signed the Treaty, which was adopted on 27 June 2013. But for the Treaty to enter into force, twenty ratifications or accessions were required, which is why Canada’s accession is so important.

Sightsavers CEO Dr Caroline Harper said: “Thank you to Canada and the 19 other countries, starting with India who were first, who have acceded to the Marrakesh Treaty. This will enable the Treaty to come into force, and enable visually impaired people to access published materials on an equitable basis. I would urge all other countries to join with them so that visually impaired people are not left behind in this area.”

The other 19 countries that have ratified or acceded are: India, El Salvador, United Arab Emirates, Mali, Uruguay, Paraguay, Singapore, Argentina, Mexico, Mongolia, Republic of Korea, Australia, Brazil, Peru, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Israel, Chile, Ecuador and Guatemala.

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