“EU: Ratify the Marrakesh Treaty
for the right to read of blind and other visually impaired persons”
Sponsoring MEPs: Dieter-Lebrecht KOCH (EPP, DE), Enrico GASBARRA (S&D, IT), Juan Carlos GIRAUTA (ALDE, ES), Max ANDERSSON (Greens/EFA, SE)
Trans-Atlantic Consumer Dialogue (TACD)
European Blind Union (EBU)
European Disability Forum (EDF)
World Blind Union (WBU)
Date of event: 24 June, 2015 13:00-14:30 (light lunch will be served outside the room starting at 12:30)
Location: European Parliament, room ASP A3G-2, Brussels
On June 28th, 2013 the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works by Visually Impaired Persons and Persons with Print Disabilities was concluded in Morocco.
This international binding UN/WIPO treaty aims at ending the “book famine” that deprives 250 million people of access to culture and education. Visually impaired persons only have access to between 1 and 5% of the books published. The agreement focuses on copyright exceptions to facilitate the creation of accessible and affordable versions of books and other copyrighted works. It sets a norm for countries ratifying the Treaty to have a domestic copyright exception covering these activities, and allowing for the import and export of such material.
Objective: Ratification of Treaty
In October, 2014 the European Commission formally asked for authorization from the Council and the European Parliament to ratify the Treaty. Nevertheless, the ratification process has been blocked because a number of EU member states reject accepting EU competence over the ratification of the treaty despite the fact that both Commission and Council legal service opinions and European Court case law clearly confirm exclusive EU competence over this issue. If authorization of EU ratification is not accepted by EU member states, it will take many years before the Treaty is ratified and implemented. The European Commission is considering sending the competence issue to the European Court of Justice for judgment.
Blind people, MEPs, the European Commission and other stakeholders will discuss the meaning of this landmark treaty for human rights and will urge swift ratification and implementation by the EU and its member states.
Welcoming remarks by sponsoring MEPs
Why the EU should ratify the Marrakesh Treaty now and how to make it happen
Wolfgang Angermann, President, European Blind Union
Yannis Vardakastanis, President, European Disability Forum
Member of the cabinet of the European Commissioner responsible for Digital Economy & Society Mr. Gunther Oettinger (tbc)
Q & A
Moderated by: David Hammerstein, senior policy advocate, TransAtlantic Consumer Dialogue (TACD)
Closing remarks by sponsoring MEPs