March 12, 2013
Journalists wishing to cover an international conference to conclude a treaty to facilitate access to published works by visually impaired persons and persons with print disabilities are invited to apply for media accreditation. The diplomatic conference to conclude the treaty is convened by WIPO and will be hosted by the Kingdom of Morocco from June 17 to 28, 2013, at the Palais des Congrès in Marrakesh.
While some countries have domestic legislation that grants limitations and exceptions for use of copyrighted works by visually impaired and people with print disabilities, there is a legal vacuum at the international level. Since 2004, WIPO’s Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) has been considering whether certain limitations and exceptions should be harmonized internationally. WIPO’s General Assembly decided that discussions relating to a future treaty to benefit visually impaired and people with print disabilities are sufficiently advanced and mature to convene a diplomatic conference. The convening of a diplomatic conference signals entry into the final phase of treaty negotiations.
Some 300 million blind or visually impaired people around the world stand to benefit from a more flexible copyright regime adapted to current technological realities. Individuals with reading impairment often need to convert information into Braille, large print, audio, electronic and other formats using assistive technologies. Only a very small percentage of published books around the world are available in formats accessible to the visually impaired.