MINSK, 25 March (BekTA) - The MPs plan to ratify a draft law on the accession of Belarus to the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled at the spring session, Marina Vasko, a member of the Standing Commission on Education, Culture and Science of the House of Representatives, told BelTA.
The treaty requires contracting parties to introduce a standard set of limitations and exceptions to copyright rules in order to permit reproduction, distribution and making available of published works in formats designed to be accessible to visually impaired persons, and to permit exchange of these works across borders by organizations that serve those beneficiaries. The draft law will authorize libraries, educational institutions and community associations of disabled people, which provide services in education and access to information on a non-commercial basis, to do it in Belarus.
“The bill is designed to improve the quality of life of people with disabilities, contribute to the development of their intellectual and labor potential, social integration into society,” Marina Vasko said.
The MP said that after the adoption of the bill, people with disabilities will have access to works in various formats. Libraries, educational institutions and community associations of people with disabilities will be able to connect to global book services, libraries through special protected channels to provide access to the necessary information for visually impaired persons. There are about 45,000 of them in Belarus.
An additional impetus will be given to international inter-library cooperation. The works of Belarusian authors, when translated into a special format, will be more actively distributed among foreign funds and catalogs.
“By acceding to the Marrakesh Treaty, Belarus will strengthen mutually beneficial ties with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and reaffirm its readiness to follow universally recognized international standards in the protection of intellectual property rights,” the MP stressed.
The Marrakesh Treaty was adopted by the WIPO member states at the diplomatic conference in Marrakesh on 27 June 2013 and entered into force on 30 September 2016. Its principles (non-discrimination, equal opportunities, accessibility, etc.) are in sync with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, to which Belarus is a party. Sixty-one countries have already acceded to the Marrakesh Treaty.
The provisions of the Marrakesh Treaty have already been partially implemented in the current national legislation. The amendments to the Law on Copyright and Related Rights, which take its requirements into account more fully, will come into force on 27 May 2020.