The international framework in copyright and related rights has been in flux with two recent treaties namely Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual Performances (2012) and the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired, or Otherwise Print Disabled (2013). Both are in the process of obtaining enough ratifications or accessions to enter into force.

The reality that informed the Marrakesh Treaty is that there are 285 million visually impaired persons (VIPs) in the world and 90% of them are in developing countries with less than 5% of printed materials in accessible formats. In addition, there are only 57 national copyright laws with exceptions that specifically cater for VIPs. 20 ratifications/accessions needed for Marrakesh to enter into force and there are currently 17 ratifications and accessions to date with others in the pipeline.

The Member States who have ratified/acceded to Marrakesh are: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Chile, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, El Salvador, India, Israel, Mali, Mexico, Mongolia, Paraguay, Peru, Republic of Korea, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, and Uruguay. 3 months after 20 Members join Treaty will enter into force. Marrakesh Secretariat activities: Regional MVT programs for copyright officials; Starting regional workshops on implementation with stakeholder organizations; Legislative assistance to Member States Information point on MVT.

The WIPO Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) was set up in the 1998-1999 biennium to examine matters of substantive law or harmonization in the field of copyright and related rights. It is composed of: member states of WIPO and/or of the Berne Union observers (certain member states of the United Nations (UN) which are non-members of WIPO and/or the Berne Union, intergovernmental and nongovernmental organizations). SCCR usually holds two sessions per year with the next meeting scheduled for November 14 – 18, 2016. Major topics on SCCR Agenda include: Protection of broadcasting organizations; Limitations and exceptions: Libraries and archives, Education and research institutions, Persons with other disabilities.

Sources: Michele Woods, Presentation at WIPO-WTO Colloquium for Teachers of Intellectual Property, June 13-24, 2016