Paths to Literacy

for students who are blind or visually impaired

U.S. Senate Votes to Ratify Marrakesh Treaty

Marrakesh Treaty

The Marrakesh Treaty, adopted by the member states of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in 2013, requires countries to enact copyright exceptions that allow the making and distribution of accessible format copies such as braille or audiobooks, including by importation and exportation.  The goal of the treaty is to increase access to published works for people who are blind, visually impaired, deafblind or with other print disabilities.  Through this treaty, a set of limitations and exceptions to traditional copyright law can be established, so that books can be made available to people who do not have access to print copies because of their visual impairment or other print disabilities.

On June 28, 2018, the full U.S. Senate voted to ratify the treaty and pass implementing legislation, which now goes to the U.S. House of Representatives, and then on to the President, according to the bill summary. The U.S. will then have to prepare and deposit its instrument of ratification to WIPO.  The unanimous vote of consent by the U.S. Senate brings this treaty one step closer to implementation on a global level.

What is the Marrakesh Treaty?

The World Blind Union describes more about the Treaty in layman's terms.