Treaty gives Philippine ‘VIPs’ vital access to printed word

By Editha Hechanova, Hechanova & Co
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On 12 November 2018, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte signed the Instrument of Accession to the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons who are Blind, Visually Impaired or otherwise Print Disabled. On 18 December 2018 this instrument was deposited at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), and will be in force on 18 March 2019.

The Marrakesh Treaty was adopted by the WIPO on 27 June 2013 to address the global book shortage in this area by making books available to the blind community. It is the first treaty to include clear humanitarian goals as part of the solution in improving access to books and other printed works by visually impaired persons (VIPs), but at the same time protecting the intellectual property rights (IPR) of authors/creators by introducing exceptions to the copyright laws at the national level.

Editha Hechanova id
Editha Hechanova
President and CEO
Hechanova & Co

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates there are 285 million people with visual impairment in the world, and 90% of them live in developing countries. As of 2017, the WIPO estimated that about 7% of publications worldwide are available to VIPs, underscoring the need for the Marrakesh Treaty.

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Editha Hechanova is president and CEO of Hechanova & Co

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