On 7 June I had the chance of participating on behalf of IPA at the WIPO National Workshop on the Marrakesh Treaty in Punta Cana, organized jointly by WIPO and the National Copyright Office of the Dominican Republic.
It was a well-attended seminar, especially by VIP ONGs. Among the speakers were Geidy Lung from WIPO, Trajano Santana, head of the local Copyright office, Ysset Román, head of the Dominican Republic’s diplomatic mission in Geneva, representatives from libraries offering service to VIP in accessible formats in Colombia and Argentina, VIP ONG representatives, including Carlos Ferrari from the Latin American Blind Union, and myself on behalf of IPA.
I had the chance to talk about our role in the approval of the Marrakesh Treaty and to express our full support of it. We want to see the correct implementation of the Treaty in the different national legislations, to make sure the VIP community can benefit from this exception, but that it is not used by others who might take advantage of unclear drafting in the national copyright law.
When I first arrived I overheard a conversation where people were mentioning that Marrakesh is great, but that unfortunately publishers are pushing back and not helping. Precisely because of these misconceptions I think it is important to take part in these workshops and in every fora where we can to reiterate our full support of the Marrakesh Treaty.
IPA does not agree to other types of broadened copyright exceptions, as we have been insisting at WIPO’s SCCR and in countries where this is at risk or even a current problem, like Colombia and Canada. However, we are completely behind the Marrakesh Treaty’s careful wording and narrow exception to benefit 253 million people around the world who have been excluded from the benefits of literature until now.
We are also going further and actively participating and supporting the Accessible Books Consortium, which can provide a more “operational” and quick solution to the VIP community by publishing “born accessible” e-books. I personally believe this is the best way to reduce the “book famine” for the VIP community.
The seminar ended with the excellent news that the Dominican Republic became the 39th country to ratify the Marrakesh Treaty. We sincerely hope many more countries will follow.
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