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Directive implementing the Marrakesh Treaty in the EU

Directive implementing the Marrakesh Treaty in the EU

 

SUMMARY OF:

Directive (EU) 2017/1564 on permitted uses of certain works protected by copyright for the benefit of persons who are blind, visually impaired or otherwise print-disabled

WHAT IS THE AIM OF THE DIRECTIVE?

It aims to set out rules on the use of certain works or other subject matter* in accessible format copies* without the authorisation of the copyright holder, for the benefit of persons who are blind, visually impaired or otherwise print-disabled in accordance with the Marrakesh Treaty.

KEY POINTS

The Marrakesh Treaty

The Marrakesh Treaty requires countries who sign up to it to adopt national laws encouraging books to be produced in accessible formats, such as braille, e-text, audio or large print, aimed at people who are blind, visually impaired or otherwise print-disabled. The laws should also make it easier to share these items across national boundaries without needing authorisation by the copyright holder. The treaty was signed in 2013 and was ratified by the EU on 1 October 2018. The EU became a party to the treaty on 1 January 2019.

This directive allows for:

  • a beneficiary person*, or a person acting on their behalf, to make an accessible format copy of a work or other subject matter (e.g. in braille) to which the beneficiary person has lawful access, for the use of the beneficiary person; and
  • an authorised entity* to make an accessible format copy of a work or other subject matter to which it has lawful access, or to communicate, make available, distribute or lend an accessible format copy to:
    • a beneficiary person; or
    • another authorised entity, on a non-profit basis, for the exclusive use of a beneficiary person.

An authorised entity must:

  • discourage unauthorised reproduction and distribution to the public of accessible format copies;
  • keep records of its handling of works and accessible format copies;
  • publish information on how it complies with these obligations;
  • follow rules on the processing of personal data of beneficiary persons;
  • provide the following information in an accessible way, on request, to beneficiary persons, other authorised entities or copyright holders
    • the list of works for which it has accessible format copies and the available formats and
    • contact details of the authorised entities involved in the exchange of accessible format copies.

Regulation (EU) 2017/1563, the Regulation implementing the Marrakech Treaty in the EU, adopted at the same time as this directive, sets out the rules for how such works or other subject matter are shared between the EU and non-EU countries that are party to the treaty without needing copyright holder permission.

FROM WHEN DOES THE DIRECTIVE APPLY?

It has applied since 10 October 2017 and had to become law in the EU countries by 11 October 2018.

BACKGROUND

For more information, see:

KEY TERMS

Work or other subject matter: a book, journal, newspaper, magazine or other kind of writing, notation, including sheet music, and related illustrations, in any media, including in audio form such as audiobooks and in digital format, which is protected by copyright or related rights and which is published or made publicly available.
Accessible format copy: a copy of a work in a form that gives a beneficiary person access as feasibly and comfortably as a person without any of the impairments or disabilities covered by this directive.
Beneficiary person: a person who is blind, has a visual impairment which cannot be improved, has a perceptual or reading disability and is, as a result, unable to read printed works to substantially the same degree as a person without such disability, or is otherwise unable, due to a physical disability, to hold or manipulate a book or to focus or move their eyes to the extent that would be normally acceptable for reading.
Authorised entity: an entity that is authorised or recognised by an EU country to provide education, instructional training, adaptive reading or information access to beneficiary persons on a non-profit basis.

MAIN DOCUMENT

Directive (EU) 2017/1564 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 September 2017 on certain permitted uses of certain works and other subject matter protected by copyright and related rights for the benefit of persons who are blind, visually impaired or otherwise print-disabled and amending Directive 2001/29/EC on the harmonisation of certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the information society (OJ L 242, 20.9.2017, pp. 6-13)

RELATED DOCUMENTS

Council Decision (EU) 2018/254 of 15 February 2018 on the conclusion on behalf of the European Union of the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons who are Blind, Visually Impaired, or otherwise Print Disabled (OJ L 48, 21.2.2018, pp. 1-2)

Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons who are Blind, Visually Impaired, or otherwise Print Disabled (OJ L 48, 21.2.2018, pp. 3-11)

Regulation (EU) 2017/1563 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 September 2017 on the cross-border exchange between the Union and third countries of accessible format copies of certain works and other subject matter protected by copyright and related rights for the benefit of persons who are blind, visually impaired or otherwise print-disabled (OJ L 242, 20.9.2017, pp. 1-5)

Council Decision 2014/221/EU of 14 April 2014 on the signing, on behalf of the European Union, of the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons who are Blind, Visually Impaired, or otherwise Print Disabled (OJ L 115, 17.4.2014, pp. 1-2)

last update 21.03.2019

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