FGV participates in treaty that expands access to books for the visually impaired

Institutional
04 July 2013

On June 28, researchers from the Center for Technology and Society (CTS) at FGV's Rio de Janeiro Law School, Pedro Belchior and Pedro Mizukami, attended the signing of a historical international treaty at the Diplomatic Conference of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in Marrakesh, Morocco. The treaty ensures the visually impaired access written works.  According to Pedro Mizukami, for the first time emphasis was given to the interests of copyright protected material users, and not strictly to the authors or intermediary parties in the cultural production chain. The Treaty of Marrakech is a strong illustration of the bonds between copyrights and human rights, embodied in an international binding normative instrument, he added.  Both researchers believe that this was an important victory for the visually impaired, as well as a large international precedent with regard to the establishment of exceptions and limitations to copyright in favor of public interest. It's a small but important step towards copyright system balance, says Pedro Belchior. The Treaty was the result of efforts from many delegations - with leadership from Brazil, via the Foreign Ministry and the Ministry of Culture - and civil society organizations such as the World Blind Union and Knowledge Ecology International. And, in order to take it into effect, it's necessary to wait for 20 ratifications, as well as the implementation of the standards by the signatory countries. At the closing ceremony, the Treaty of Marrakech received 51 signatures.  The two representatives of FGV's Rio de Janeiro Law School also expect that two other texts under discussion at WIPO will have the same result. The first is aimed at the exceptions and limitations of copyright for libraries, archives and files. The second refers to exceptions and limitations of copyright for education.  CTS' role The CTS is a permanent observer of the WIPO. As Pedro Mizukami explains, the observers are institutions that focus on topics concerning intellectual property, or entities that represent audiences who have interest on the topic. The role of the Treaty of Marrakech was to watch, monitor and dialogue with some delegations and other observers. A statement of the researchers was also delivered in the plenary on the day of the treaty's final text approval. Click here to read the statement.