Meera Nair

wonderful news from Marrakesh

In Posts on June 26, 2013 at 2:20 pm

James Love, writing for Knowledge Ecology International, gives the news:

The treaty will provide a dramatic and massive improvement in access to reading materials for persons in common languages, such as English, Spanish, French, Portuguese and Arabic, and it will provide the building blocks for global libraries to service blind persons. On the issues that mattered the most for blind persons, such as the ability to deliver documents across borders to individuals, and to break technical measures, the treaty was a resounding success.

Love also points out that, but for the intransigence of the United States and the European Union, the treaty could have been better. Nevertheless, “the effort of the blind and non-blind civil society NGOs was more powerful than the lobbying by Exxon, General Electric, Monsanto, GSK, Random House, Pearson Publishing, the MPAA and its member groups and others who opposed this treaty.”

And, a nice video  announcement from the World Intellectual Property Organization is here.

Reading the draft language (to receive formal approval on Thursday), enthusiasts of “fair” may enjoy this clause from Article 10:

Contracting parties may fulfill their rights and obligations under this Treaty through, exceptions or limitations specifically for the benefit of beneficiary persons, other exceptions or limitations, or a combination thereof within their national legal system and practice. These may include judicial, administrative or regulatory determinations for the benefit of beneficiary persons as to fair practices, dealings or uses to meet their needs consistent with their rights and obligations under the Berne Convention.

Said another way, even if a specific exception in the name of visually disabled persons does not exist in a domestic copyright law, fair dealing or fair use may be relied upon to ensure that the spirit of the treaty is not lost.

Congratulations to all those who worked so hard to bring a meaningful treaty into existence.

Update — June 30, 2016  As Canada becomes the 20th country to ratify the Marrakesh Treaty, it will enter into force September 30, 2016.


  1. […] Journal (2006), Vol. 22 Issue 12. See also Meera Nair, “Wonderful news from Marrakesh,” in FairDuty, 6 June […]

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