At the most recent meeting of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR), two more countries deposited their instruments of ratification for the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled (“Marrakesh Treaty“): Australia and Brazil. With these recent additions, thirteen countries have now ratified and only seven more are needed for the Marrakesh Treaty to enter into force. The Marrakesh Treaty is expected to gain enough ratifications to enter into force in 2016. Countries previously ratifying the Marrakesh Treaty include: Argentina, El Salvador, India, Mali, Mexico, Mongolia, Paraguay, Singapore, South Korea, the United Arab Emirates and Uruguay.
The Marrakesh Treaty sets forth minimum standards for limitations and exceptions to facilitate access to accessible format works. It would also permit cross-border sharing of these accessible formats, allowing countries to avoid unnecessary duplication of efforts and resources in the creation of these accessible works. Additionally, the Treaty would facilitate importation of works created in other languages.
Bill C-65 in Canada was introduced in June in preparation for accession to the Marrakesh Treaty, but has not been voted on. While the United States signed the Treaty in October 2013, signaling an intention to ratify, the Obama Administration has not yet sent the Treaty to the US Senate for ratification. ARL remains hopeful that Canada and the United States can demonstrate leadership on this issue and be among the first twenty countries to ratify the treaty, though other countries appear to be moving swiftly toward ratification as well.