Marrakesh Treaty improves access for blind and visually impaired to creative works

Copyright Office Applauds United States Joining the Marrakesh Treaty

Washington, D.C. – February 8, 2019 – NealReedWires – Today, the United States officially joined the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled (“Marrakesh Treaty”) by depositing its instrument of ratification with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). This means that the United States’ obligations under the Marrakesh Treaty enter into force in ninety days, on May 8, 2019.

Karyn A. Temple, Acting Register of Copyrights, stated, “The United States’ formal membership in the Marrakesh Treaty marks a major achievement for our country and a significant positive step forward for the millions of persons who are blind and visually impaired throughout the world. The United States will now join our fellow nations in promoting greater accessibility to print materials around the globe.”

The Marrakesh Treaty requires its contracting member nations to make it easier for those with print disabilities to access printed works in accessible formats such as Braille and digital audio files. It also establishes rules for the international exchange of accessible format copies. TheMarrakesh Treaty was adopted at a diplomatic conference in June 2013 and the treaty entered into force in September 2016. The United States is the 50th WIPO member state to deposit its instrument.

Current materials on the implementation of the Marrakesh Treaty in U.S. law are available on the Copyright Office website at https://www.copyright.gov/international-issues/.

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