Which countries have signed up to the Marrakesh Treaty, which removes the copyright barriers preventing making and sharing accessible copies of works for people with print disabilities, and how far have they gone in bringing their national legislation into line with its provisions? Our latest Marrakesh Monitoring Report provides an update!

The Marrakesh Treaty is now officially in force in 119 countries around the world, including all 27 in the European Union.

Yet as was highlighted at the 10th anniversary celebrations of the signing of the text last year, while ratifying or acceding to the text is important, for beneficiaries – people who are blind, partially sighted, or who otherwise are unable to read and enjoy works – and the institutions that serve them, updating national laws also matter.

This is because it is unfair to expect librarians and others to make judgements between national and international law. Beneficiaries of the Treaty, and the people and institutions that support them deserve clarity.

A further crucial point is that the Treaty leaves some flexibility to countries implementing it. Due to rearguard actions by those who resisted the Treaty, including rightholder organisations and some countries, there are possibilities to apply it in a more restrictive fashion, for example by imposing payments or burdensome checks for commercial availability.

The Marrakesh Monitoring Report provides an overview, therefore, both of which countries have ratified or acceded to the Treaty, and of how far they have stayed true to its overall goal of maximising possibilities to provide access.

It looks in particular at whether it’s possible to make and share copies of both physical and audiobooks, whether Treaty provisions can be used without checking on commercial availability (a potentially long if not impossible task, given the state of accessibility metadata and market data in general in many countries), whether libraries can use the Treaty without registering or providing additional reporting, and whether people with dyslexia and other disabilities can benefit.

View the Monitoring Report on the IFLA Repository.

The Treaty is having effects. As reported by the US National Library Service, a part of the Library of Congress serving persons with disabilities, nearly 6000 books have been added since 2020, and have been accessed over 45 000 times. Just in 2023, these covered 16 languages. Meanwhile, the Service has uploaded almost 200 000 books to the Accessible Books Service, benefitting users in 40 countries globally.