Copyright information : Marrakesh Treaty and Canada's Bill C-11.

Marrakesh Treaty: Access to Copyrighted Works

The Marrakesh Treaty and Canada's Bill C-11 have created more inclusive copyright rules for people with print disabilities.

The Marrakesh Treaty is a treaty on copyright originally adopted in Marrakesh, Morocco on June 28, 2013.  This treaty allows for copyright exceptions to facilitate the creation of accessible version of books and other copyrighted works for people with visual impairments and blindness.  51 countries signed the treaty at the conference in Marrakesh; 20 states are required for the treaty to enter into effect.  The 20th ratification was received on June 30, 2016 and the treaty became active on September 20, 2016.

Read the World Blind Union’s layman’s explanation of the Marrakesh Treaty.

On top of the Marrakesh Treaty, Canada has added Bill C-11 that introduced three main changes in their copyright act:

  1. The Bill permits non-profit organizations acting on behalf of person with a print disability to reproduce copyright works (not films or music) in accessible formats without the permission from copyright holder, provided that the work is not commercially available in a similar format.
  2. The Bill reduces restrictions on exporting accessible materials regardless of the authors’ nationality by allowing the non-profit organization to make the work available in other countries that are part of the treaty.
  3. The Bill also exempts electronic books from the digital lock rules enacted in the 2012 copyright reforms that protect right-holders against the circumvention of popular products.

Read more about Canada’s Bill C-11.

By Diane Brauner

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