Marrakesh Treaty set to enter into force
EIFL welcomes news that Canada has become the 20th country to join the landmark Marrakesh Treaty for persons with print disabilities

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Blind and visually impaired people using talking books equipment.
Visually impaired people use DAISY Talking Book readers in Ulaanbaatar Public Library in Mongolia. The Marrakesh Treaty frees up the library’s talking books initiative to create accessible format copies and exchange them across borders.

EIFL is delighted to learn that Canada today became the 20th country to accede to the Marrakesh Treaty for persons with print disabilities.

This means that the treaty will enter into force on 30 September 2016 when countries that are party to the treaty will be allowed for the first time to create accessible format copies, and to exchange these copies across borders.

EIFL was in Marrakesh (Morocco) on the historic day just over three years ago when WIPO member states adopted the landmark treaty.

“We undertook on that day to support early adoption of the treaty in EIFL partner countries,” said Teresa Hackett, EIFL Copyright and Libraries Programme Manager.

In September 2015, EIFL was delighted that the library community in Mongolia played their part when Mongolia became the 10th country to ratify the treaty, marking its halfway point towards entry into force.


“We are delighted that another milestone has been reached today taking us one step closer towards the goal – to end the book famine for persons with print disabilities,” continued Teresa. “We will continue to work with libraries in all countries so that people everywhere can benefit from cross-border exchange of accessible books.”

“The right to read is a fundamental human right. Canada’s accession to the Marrakesh Treaty is a great humanitarian example from a developed country that will benefit people everywhere,” added Baljid Dashdeleg, EIFL copyright resource person in Monogolia.

EIFL congratulates WIPO member states, the World Blind Union, Knowledge Ecology International and everyone who made the treaty happen.

EIFL supports ratification in partner countries

The goal of the Marrakesh Treaty is to end the book famine – the fact that only about 7% of published books are made available globally in accessible formats, such as Braille, audio and large print, and digital formats. The treaty creates an international legal framework that allows the making of accessible formats, and the sharing of accessible format copies across borders.

EIFL supported the World Blind Union in negotiations over five years at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), and participated in the Diplomatic Conference that led to the adoption in 2013 of the Marrakesh Treaty.

To complete the work in Marrakesh, and to fulfill the promise of the right to read for people with print disabilities, EIFL supports ratification of the treaty in partner countries, and its implementation into national copyright law. 

The Treaty enters into force three months after it has been ratified by 20 countries, i.e. on 30 September 2016.

The first 20 countries to ratify or accede were: India, El Salvador, United Arab Emirates, Mali, Uruguay, Paraguay, Singapore, Argentina, Mexico, Mongolia, Republic of Korea, Australia, Brazil, Peru, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Israel, Chile, Ecuador, Guatemala and Canada.

Read more about EIFL’s work supporting the Right to Read for ratification of the Marrakesh Treaty and its implementation into national copyright law.