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1 July 2014Copyright

India first country to ratify Marrakesh Treaty

India has become the first country to ratify the World Intellectual Property Organization’s (WIPO’s) Marrakesh Treaty, which is aimed at improving the world’s blind, visually impaired and print disabled people’s access to published works.

More than 75 WIPO member states have signed the treaty since it was adopted on June 27 last year. It will take effect after 20 ratifications or accessions are presented to WIPO.

WIPO director Francis Gurry said yesterday, June 30: “We congratulate India on its ratification of the Marrakesh Treaty and hope this ratification will be the first of many.

“When the Marrakesh Treaty takes effect, the lives of people who are visually impaired around the world will be enriched.”

According to estimates, even in developed countries less than 5 percent of published books are accessible to the blind. The World Health Organization estimates that 90 percent of the world’s 285 million blind and visually impaired people live in developing countries.

The Marrakesh Treaty aims to address ‘book famine’ by requiring that nations adopt legal provisions that permit the reproduction and distribution of published works in accessible formats, such as Braille, by introducing limitations and exceptions to copyright law. The treaty would also allow accessible format works to be traded across borders.

Dilip Sinha, India’s permanent representative to the UN in Geneva, said at the time of the ratification: “India supports the Marrakesh Treaty for its human rights and social development dimension.”

He added: “We hope other countries will follow India’s lead quickly so the treaty can enter into force and we begin to see real and tangible benefits for the world’s blind and visually impaired community.”

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24 June 2013   Blind musician Stevie Wonder has pleaded for the World Intellectual Property Organization to sign a treaty to improve access to books for millions of blind, visually-impaired and print-disabled people.
4 February 2016   Peru has become the latest country to ratify the World Intellectual Property Organization’s Marrakesh Treaty, which is aimed at helping blind people to access published works.