On 1 October 2018, the EU ratified the Marrakesh Treaty. The Treaty facilitates access to print works in formats adapted for persons who are blind, visually impaired or otherwise print disabled. The act took place in a ceremony at the World Intellectual Property Organization in Geneva. It was carried out by Ambassador Elisabeth Tichy-Fisslberger of Austria, which currently holds the Presidency of the Council of the EU, and Claire Bury, Deputy Director-General for Communications Networks, Content and Technologies at the European Commission.

Deputy Director General Claire Bury speaking at the ceremony, with WIPO Director General Francis Gurry, Walter Stevens, EU ambassador and Ambassador Elisabeth Tichy-Fisslberger, Permanent Representative of Austria to the United Nations Office at Geneva

The ratification means that the European Union will effectively become a party to the treaty as of 1 January 2019. This will allow persons with print disabilities in the EU and organisations serving their needs to participate in the exchange of books and other print material in accessible formats with third countries that are also parties to the treaty. As of today, 42 countries from all around the world are parties to the Marrakesh Treaty.

The Marrakesh Treaty is the first international treaty in the field of copyright that the EU becomes part of on the basis of its exclusive external competence. At the European level, a Directive and a Regulation were adopted in 2017 for the implementation of the treaty in EU law. The deadline for Member States to transpose the Directive into national law ends on 11 October 2018. The Regulation will enter into application on the following day, 12 October 2018.

More information on copyright in the EU

WIPO press release