A treaty “Miracle at Marrakesh” born for visually impaired

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In Marrakesh, Morocco, international negotiators signed a treaty on Friday that will give an easier access to books for visually impaired, blind and print disabled persons. After one week of intense debate facilitated by the World Intellectual Property organization (WIPO), the Marrakesh treaty has emerged to facilitate access to published works for visually impaired individuals. It will address the shortage of books for the visually impaired by requiring its contracting parties to adopt national law provisions that permit the production, distribution and making available of published works in accessible formats through limitations and exceptions to the rights of copyright holder. Further, it allows the waiver of copyright restrictions in order for books to be available in Braille, large print text formats or in audio books.
The Pranesh Prakash of the Centre for Internet and Society said that the copyright is not just an engine of free expression but can pose a significant barrier to access to knowledge. The copyright should not frustrate access to free books for some groups of people and should provide assurances to authors and publishers that the system will not put their published works to misuse or distribution to anyone other than the intended beneficiaries.
Around the world, an estimated 285 million blind and partially-sighted people, which largest portion lives in India. Only 1 to 7 percent of all books published are available in formats accessible to them.
One of the key campaigner for the treaty is an Indian national, the late Rahul Cherian of Inclusive Planet who spoke to The Hindu in December last year and broke the news “The Extraordinary General Assembly of the World Intellectual Property Organisation has referred the Treaty for Visually Impaired Persons to a diplomatic conference in June of 2013.