The miracle at marrakesh: Doing justice for the blind and visually impaired while changing the culture of norm setting at WIPO

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

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The Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired, or Otherwise Print Disabled (Marrakesh Treaty) addresses the needs of a critically underserved population within the global copyright market: the blind and visually impaired. Throughout much of the world, there is littxle support for visually impaired persons (VIPs) attempting to navigate an information market made up largely of text. This lack of support has effectively denied access to information to hundreds of millions of people. Historically, the international response to this disparity in access to information between VIPs and the relatively unimpaired has been limited to local or individual national initiatives. The international copyright protection system has, until now, been focused primarily on protecting the rights of copyright owners. With the Marrakesh Treaty, it is possible to see a shift in the culture of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) toward increased consideration for the public interest rights of users. The treaty builds on preexisting WIPO programs, with the specific purpose of increasing access to information for the public in general, and VIPs in particular. Although the treaty draws on earlier work and reflects a change in the culture of the WIPO, it is not without difficulties. Contracting parties implementing the treaty must do so in a manner consistent with their obligations under other multilateral agreements. In addition, the majority of the treaty’s beneficiaries live in developing or least developed countries, many of which are not yet cleanly integrated into the global copyright market. With such a broad range of implications and issues underpinning the treaty, this chapter cannot expose every analytic crevice of the treaty or the complicated set of events, tactics, and strategies preceding it, but it will address the disparities in access to information.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationDiversity in Intellectual Property
Subtitle of host publicationIdentities, Interests, and Intersections
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages23
ISBN (Electronic)9781107588479
ISBN (Print)9781107065529
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Social Sciences


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