EU Approval Expands Marrakesh Pact

EU Approval Expands Marrakesh Pact
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Extraordinary Growth in Inclusion: EU Joins WIPO’s Marrakesh Agreement

The European Association has taken a significant step towards inclusivity by ratifying WIPO’s Marrakesh Agreement, amplifying access to adapted texts for visually impaired individuals across borders.

EU’s Approval and Global Coverage

Diplomat Elisabeth Tichy-Fisslberger, representing the 28-member European Union, submitted the EU’s instrument of accession for the Marrakesh Agreement to WIPO Director General Francis Gurry. With this, the Agreement extends its coverage to 70 countries worldwide, marking a milestone for accessibility.

Impact on Visually Impaired Individuals

WIPO’s Francis Gurry highlighted the EU’s commitment, stating that this ratification marks a considerable advancement for visually impaired individuals within the EU and other contracting parties. The Agreement enables access to texts in open formats across countries implementing its provisions, aiming for a broader global impact.

Multilateral Efforts and Recognition

Ambassador Tichy-Fisslberger emphasized the significance of multilateralism in achieving common political solutions, emphasizing the Agreement’s importance not only for the EU but also for partners worldwide sharing its objectives.

Addressing the Book Scarcity

Claire Cover from the European Commission noted that only a small portion of literature is accessible to the visually impaired, terming it a ‘book scarcity.’ She expressed optimism that the Marrakesh Agreement could bridge this gap, opening up knowledge and hope for visually impaired individuals globally.

Marrakesh Agreement: Alleviating the ‘Book Starvation’

This Agreement tackles the ‘book starvation’ issue by mandating member states to adopt national laws facilitating the production of books in accessible formats without seeking copyright permission. It aims to exchange such texts across borders, catering to the needs of the print-disabled population.

Global Impact and WHO’s Estimate

With the World Health Organization estimating over 253 million visually impaired individuals globally, predominantly in lower-income countries, the Agreement’s implementation becomes critical for addressing this demographic’s needs. Collaborations between international organizations, government bodies, and specialized entities like an Intellectual Property Law Firm are pivotal in ensuring the dissemination of accessible technologies and overcoming legal barriers to provide vital resources to these communities.

ABC Consortium: Facilitating Accessible Books

WIPO established the Open Books Consortium (ABC) to practically implement the Marrakesh Agreement’s objectives. The ABC focuses on technical support, promoting inclusive publishing, and operates a global online catalog for open books.

Enabling Cross-Border Exchange

Following the EU’s ratification, over 270,000 titles will be available for cross-border exchange through the ABC Global Book Service, eliminating the need for copyright approvals. This initiative significantly expands accessible literature globally.

Boosting Accessibility

The ABC Global Book Service, aimed at facilitating the distribution of open-format works internationally, serves as a pivotal resource for various entities, including Property Attorneys. Participating in this service enables these attorneys to access and distribute open-format works seamlessly across borders at no cost. This not only enriches their collections but also significantly enhances accessibility for visually impaired individuals, ensuring equitable access to legal resources.

This collaboration fosters a collective effort towards inclusivity, utilizing multilateral agreements to address the fundamental right of access to information for all.