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newsMarrakesh Treaty on access to published works for blind and visually impaired persons - Council authorises ratification

The Council today adopted a decision approving the conclusion of the Marrakesh Treaty to facilitate access to published works for persons who are blind, visually impaired, or otherwise print disabled.

Today's decision enables the EU to ratify the Marrakesh Treaty as from next summer. It is of huge importance for the EU because this treaty helps us to overcome discriminatory barriers to access by persons with disabilities to cultural materials.

Boil Banov, Minister for Culture of Bulgaria

The Marrakesh Treaty establishes a set of international rules which ensure that there are limitations or exceptions to copyright rules for the benefit of people who are blind, visually impaired or otherwise print‑disabled.

It also enables the cross‑border exchange of copies of published works that have been produced in an accessible format.

Persons who are blind, visually impaired or otherwise print-disabled continue to face many barriers in accessing books and other print material. The need to increase the number of works and other protected subject-matter available in accessible formats such as braille, audio-books and large print, has been recognised at international level.

On 13 September 2017, the Council adopted implementing legislation to introduce into EU law the new mandatory exception to copyright rules, in line with the Marrakesh Treaty. This will allow beneficiary persons and organisations to make copies of works in accessible formats, and to disseminate them across the EU and in third countries which are party to the Treaty.

The Treaty, which forms part of the body of copyright treaties administered by World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), entered into force on 30 September 2016. It has a cultural, humanitarian and social development dimension.

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