On October 22, 2020, the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled to Perceive Printed Information (hereinafter - the Marrakesh Treaty) comes into force for the Republic of Belarus.
The body responsible for coordination of the implementation of the Marrakesh Treaty is the State Committee on Science and Technology of the Republic of Belarus.
The Marrakesh Treaty applies to objects of copyright - works of science, literature, art, expressed in the form of text, musical notation or related illustrations, whether published or otherwise made available to the public through any media, including books in paper and electronic format, audiobooks, as well as objects of related rights related to works, including performances and phonograms (sound recordings), which will make the works more accessible.
Entering the Marrakesh Treaty will facilitate access to and use of works for persons with disabilities, including those who are blind, visually impaired, those with reading problems including dyslexia, and physical problems including the inability to hold onto book or handle it, focus or move the eyes in the usual way, including cerebral palsy, movement and neurodegenerative diseases.
The implementation of the Marrakesh Treaty is aimed at ensuring the opportunity for the mentioned category of citizens to participate in the cultural life of society, enjoy the arts, exercise the right to education and opportunities for scientific research. The accession of the Republic of Belarus to this agreement contributes to the development of intellectual and labor potential, as well as social integration in general and an improvement in the quality of life of this category of citizens.
The Marrakesh Treaty provides for the lawful production and distribution of copies of works in accessible formats for persons with print disabilities without obtaining permission from the author or other copyright holder.
An accessible format is as a format that provides people with print disabilities with the same real and convenient access as people without similar disabilities. At the same time, copies made in an accessible format must preserve the integrity of the original work, taking into account the needs of the mentioned category of persons and the changes necessary in order to make the work available to them.
Libraries, educational institutions and public associations of people with disabilities are authorized to carry out actions directly aimed at the production and distribution of works in accessible formats in the Republic of Belarus, providing services in the field of education or access to information to persons with disabilities on a non-commercial basis. In addition, other interested parties may be authorized to carry out these actions by a resolution of the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Belarus.
The Marrakesh Treaty also provides for the possibility of lawful export by authorized bodies of copies of works in accessible formats for the mentioned category of citizens, as well as the right of such persons and authorized bodies to import works in accessible formats without obtaining permission from the author or other copyright holder for the purpose of cross-border exchange of such copies.
The implementation of the Marrakesh Treaty, as well as the protection of the rights of persons with disabilities, will be facilitated by the accession of libraries, educational institutions and public associations of persons with disabilities to the Accessible Books Consortium (ABC), whose activities are aimed at ensuring the worldwide distribution of books in an accessible format, including those made in Braille, in audio format and in large print.
The implementation of the provisions of the Marrakesh Treaty will contribute to the enrichment of the funds of libraries, educational institutions and public associations of persons with disabilities with works in special accessible formats, improving their material and technical base for the purposes of education and training of persons with disabilities.