As the UN World Intellectual Property Organization’s (WIPO) General Assembly gets underway and the budget for the upcoming biennium is determined, there are two developments that occurred during the first week of meetings that are worth mentioning: (1) Nigeria’s ratification of WIPO copyright treaties and (2) the debates surrounding the interpretation of the Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore’s (IGC) proposed programme of work.
The main objective of the Marrakesh Treaty is to address the “book famine” by facilitating the access of published books by people who are blind, visually impaired or otherwise print disabled. It requires from the countries who signed into the Treaty to have an exception to domestic copyright law for visually impaired and print disabled people. It also focuses on the accessibility of published works by harmonizing limitations and exceptions to the exchange of works across borders. It will hopefully increase the numbers of accessible works over the world. According to the World Blind Union, over 90% of published materials are currently not available to the nearly 300 million people that are blind or have a print disability.
A FAQ was put together by Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada to explain how the Marrakesh Treaty benefits Canadians.