The Marrakesh Treaty continues to be popular: after only a few years, it already has 57 contracting parties, in other words countries that have acceded or ratified the Treaty. Most of these are making or will make changes domestically in order to comply with the provisions of the Treaty and start using it.

This process is ongoing. Today’s fourth update [Word PDF] to IFLA’s Marrakesh Monitoring Report covers changes that have happened since the January 2019 update. As in previous editions, the document monitors where legislative changes are happening and their main characteristics.

The questions that the monitoring report looks into are whether libraries can make use of Marrakesh provisions:

  • without paying remuneration for books or for audio-books
  • without needing to check on the commercial availability of the work
  • without a registration obligation
  • without additional record-keeping requirements
  • to serve people with dyslexia
  • to serve people with other disabilities

Since the previous update, we have seen several countries acceding or ratifying the Treaty: Bolivia, Cabo Verde, the Cook Islands, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Morocco, Tajikistan, Thailand and the United States.

Several countries have made updates to their legislation, like New Zealand, where domestic reform should mean that ratification will come soon. Several European Member States have completed transposition of the European Directive (Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Italy, and Malta).

While the full potential of cross-border exchanges will only come once new laws and practices are fully in place. There is an example of Canada exchanging books with Kyrgyzstan. Yet it is clear that the Marrakesh Treaty is not only going to open up the door to many cross-border exchanges but is also proving itself extremely useful as a catalyst of reforms nationally which would not have taken place without this international guidance.

Using the Monitoring Report

The overview continues to offer support to people pushing for reforms in their countries. To simplify the use of Marrakesh provisions in cross-border exchanges, countries should be as aligned as possible in the key aspects covered by the overview.

In particular, since many countries are moving towards a non-remunerated exception for example, this is a very good reason for any new country undertaking a copyright reform to adopt a non-remunerated exception as well.

The overview offers good news:

  • A majority of countries from which we have information have not implemented any remuneration schemes for the creation and distribution of accessible format copies;
  • we know that 24 countries have no commercial availability checks (only 8 have them);
  • in most countries there is no registration obligation for authorised entities;
  • it is clear in all countries where we have information that people with dyslexia are considered beneficiaries to the exception;
  • of the countries for which we have clear answers, 20 have extended Marrakesh provisions, at least partially, to people with other disabilities, although 19 have not.

While it would be very positive that countries with the same languages align themselves as much as possible to make the cross-border exchanges simpler, there are no clear trends in this regard for now.

We would like to thank the contributions of the European Blind Union, of EIFL, of the Red Iberoamericana de Expertos en la Convención de los Derechos de las Personas con Discapacidad, and of the members of the IFLA Section of Libraries Serving People with Print Disabilities for the input provided.

Comments and further updates are very welcome – contact us.

Access the full report [Word PDF].

Access the previous updates.