On 16 June 2015 the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons who are Blind, Visually Impaired, or Otherwise Print Disabled and a National Interest Analysis were tabled in Parliament, and referred to the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties (Treaties Committee).
This treaty will give people who are blind, visually impaired or otherwise print disabled greater access to works published in accessible formats, such as print, braille and audio.
An estimated 285 million people with vision impairments around the world will benefit from this treaty as it is designed to break down legal barriers that once limited the flow of accessible format literature across borders.
The treaty will allow exceptions to copyright law to enable organisations to produce and distribute books and other materials in formats that are accessible to people with visual impairment. The exceptions will only be used when books in accessible format are commercially unavailable.
The treaty will come into effect following the ratification or accession of 20 countries. To date, eight have done so. Australia intends to ratify the Marrakesh Treaty as soon as possible pending the recommendation of the Treaties Committee. Australia signed the treaty at the World Intellectual Property Organization headquarters last June.
Below are links to the Marrakesh Treaty National Interest Analysis for reference.
The treaty is also available in a range of formats from the World Intellectual Property Organization.
More information on the Treaties Committee process can be found on the Parliament of Australia website.