Serbia counts more than 12,000 blind and visually impaired people, who are struggling to reach texts and other visual content. To improve their position, Serbia adhered to the Marrakesh Treaty, which is in force as of 24 May 2020.
This treaty requires contracting parties to introduce a standard set of limitations and exceptions to copyright rules. These should enable reproduction, distribution and making available of published works in formats designed to be accessible to visually impaired persons and to allow the exchange of these works across borders by organisations that serve those beneficiaries.
Suitable limitations and exceptions are already available under the current Law on Copyright: copyright-protected works may be adapted so that persons with disabilities can use them. There is no need to obtain an authorisation from the copyright holder, nor to pay a royalty.
The Marrakesh Treaty provides an additional level of certainty and strengthens the position of persons with visual impairment and prevents easy changes to these benefits in the future.
The treaty is administered by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO). WIPO is leading the Accessible Books Consortium (ABC), which has a goal is to increase the number of books worldwide in an accessible format. By now 415,000 titles are available in an accessible format at this platform. There is more to be done because less than 10% of the titles published worldwide are available in accessible formats.
WIPO also published the text of the Marrakesh Treaty in Braille format on its web page.
By Nikola Kliska, Senior Associate, independent Attorney at Law in cooperation with Karanovic & Partners