GS Mains Model Question & Answer: The Marrakesh Treaty is to
create a set of mandatory limitations and exceptions for the benefit of the
blind, visually impaired and otherwise print disabled. Discuss.
Q. The Marrakesh Treaty is to create a
set of mandatory limitations and exceptions for the benefit of the blind,
visually impaired and otherwise print disabled. Discuss. (12.5 Marks)
(General Studies Mains Paper II – Social Justice : Welfare schemes for
vulnerable sections of the population)
Model Answer :
The Marrakesh Treaty addresses
(I) the “book famine” by requiring its contracting parties to
adopt national law provisions that permit the reproduction, distribution and
making available of published works in accessible formats - such as Braille - to
VIPs and to permit exchange of these works across borders by organizations that
serve those beneficiaries.
(II) It will facilitate access to published works for the
millions of blind, visually impaired and otherwise print disabled persons in
India. It would go a long way in establishing equal rights and opportunities for
education and employment for them.
(III) The Treaty will facilitate import of accessible format
copies from the member states by the Indian authorized entities such as
educational institutions, libraries and other such institutions working for the
benefit of visually impaired persons.
(IV) This will also facilitate translation of imported
accessible format copies and export of accessible format copies in Indian
languages. The Indian Copyright (Amendment) Act, 2012 is in harmony with the
Fifty-one countries signed the treaty as of the close of the
diplomatic conference in Marrakesh. The ratification of 20 states was required
for the treaty to enter into effect; the 20th ratification was received on 30
June 2016, and the treaty will enter into force on 30 September 2016. India
ratified the treaty on 24 July 2014 and was the first country to do so. As of 7
July 2014, 79 countries have signed the Treaty and 20 states have ratified it.
‘Accessible India Campaign’
The ‘Accessible India Campaign’ has provided a nationwide
flagship campaign for universal access for people with disabilities. And India
has begun implementation of the Marrakesh Treaty through a multi-stakeholder
approach, which includes collaboration among key players such as government
ministries, local champions like the DAISY Forum of India, and the private
sector. This led to the launch in August of India’s largest collection of online
accessible books called “Sugamya Pustakalaya”, which counts 2,00,000 volumes.
Accessible Books Consortium (ABC)
The World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), a United
Nations organisation based in Geneva, administers the Marrakesh Treaty and leads
an alliance of private and public partners known as the Accessible Books
Consortium (ABC), which was established in June 2014 to support the goals of the
The ABC has established a centralised electronic multilingual
catalogue of accessible books produced by libraries for the blind around the
world. Through the ABC Book Service, which is free, organisations serving the
print-disabled can supplement their collections of accessible books from their
counterparts in other countries.
The ABC Book Service can assist in preventing the same book
from being produced in accessible formats by more than one library, thereby
avoiding duplication. It is hoped that Sugamya Pustakalaya will soon become a
member of the ABC Book Service, thereby joining an international
library-to-library service managed by WIPO in Geneva. Nineteen libraries for the
blind from 16 countries are already participating in this service, and I am
happy to announce today that over 1,00,000 loans have now been made to visually
impaired individuals around the world through the participating organisations.
ABC is continuing to establish projects in India, including
by training publishers, libraries and NGOs in the production of accessible
books, as well as providing funding to produce educational materials in
accessible formats. Without these materials, students either cannot access their
curriculum or are dependent on books being read aloud to them.