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Proposed amendments to Marrakesh Directive

Persons who are blind, visually impaired or otherwise print disabled continue to face many barriers in accessing books and other print material which are protected by copyright and related rights. Taking into consideration the social interests of granting such persons the right of access to information and the right to participate in cultural, economic and social life, on an equal basis with others, measures need to be taken to increase the availability of those works in accessible formats and to improve their circulation in the internal market, within the conditions set forth in this Directive, in order to ensure access to knowledge and information.

This Directive is designed for the benefit of persons who are blind, have a visual impairment which cannot be improved so as to give those persons visual function substantially equivalent to that of a person who has no such impairment, or have a perceptual or reading disability, including dyslexia, or any other learning disability, preventing them from reading printed works to the same degree as persons without such disability, or are unable to hold or manipulate a book or to focus or move the eyes to the extent that would be normally acceptable for reading due to a physical disability.

The exercise of the exceptions provided for by this Directive should be without prejudice to other exceptions for persons with disabilities provided for by the Member States. The Directive does not establish any obligation on authorised entities to make and disseminate copies.

It is also necessary for the mandatory exception to limit the right of reproduction so as to allow for any act that is necessary in order to make changes to or convert or adapt a work or other subject-matter in such a way as to produce an accessible format copy. This includes providing the necessary means to navigate information in an accessible format copy, and includes also the acts that are necessary to adapt existing publications that are already accessible for certain categories of beneficiary persons to the needs of other beneficiary persons who require alternative formats to properly access the work. Lending of the work to beneficiary persons should be permitted.

This amendment aims to improve clarity on what are “necessary acts” authorised by the exception set in Art. 3. A file format may be accessible by some categories of disabled persons (e.g. visually impaired people) but not by others (e.g. dyslexics). In this case, though there is no need to transform a file for a beneficiary person who is blind or visually impaired, a transformation is needed to make the work accessible for a dyslexic. The possibility of lending should also be granted.

In order to foster exchange between Member States, a single publicly accessible online database should be established and managed by the European Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) containing information on authorised entities and bibliographic data about works in accessible format copies that are produced and made available by authorised entities. This database should also include information about born accessible publications, namely publications produced by publishers in accessible format, and should be interoperable with the ABC TIGAR (Trusted Intermediary Global Accessible Resources) database hosted by the WIPO.

Member States should transpose this Directive within six months of entry into force, in order to swiftly implement the rights recognised by the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union and the UNCRPD of persons with disabilities. The amendment aims to take into account the provisions of Article 4 Par. 3 and Art. 10 of the Marrakesh Treaty on the implementation of the Treaty itself.

Member States shall ensure that the exceptions provided for in paragraph 1 cannot be overridden by contract. Regarding the relationship between the exception provided for in paragraph 1 of this Article and technical protection measures, the first, third and fifth subparagraphs of Article 6(4) of Directive 2001/29/EC shall apply. Member States shall ensure that complaints and redress mechanisms are put in place in case of disputes concerning the application of the measures referred to in this Article.

The proposed Directive does not mention any complaints or redress mechanisms that should be put in place by Member States in cases where beneficiaries are denied the permitted uses. Such mechanisms are provided under Art. 13(2) of the Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on copyright in the Digital Single Market (COM(2016)593).

Amendments (de) are included in the text whether in a form of a wording, replacing initial text, or in a form of a text included in initial draft.