[A2k] The start of a new era” - EIFL welcomes new WIPO treaty

Teresa Hackett teresa.hackett at eifl.net
Thu Jun 27 14:32:28 PDT 2013

“This is not the end of a process, but the start of an era – an era of
hope that the blight of the book famine may finally be coming to an

Read the EIFL closing statement delivered in Marrakesh on 27 June 2013
here, http://www.eifl.net/closing-statement-marrakesh

Thank you, Mr. President. Electronic Information for Libraries (EIFL)
enables access to knowledge through libraries in more than 60
developing and transition countries.

We came to Mararkesh with high expectations. We knew that negotiations
would not be easy. We hoped that the resolve of delegates would see
through the difficult moments. The prize – to give new life chances to
people with print disabilities - most of whom live in the developing
world was too great to lose.

We commend delegates on reaching an agreement. We recognize that a
treaty focusing on beneficiaries is novel. However a mandatory
requirement to allow certain uses of protected works is not a new
precedent i.e. the making of “quotations” in Article 10(1) of the
Berne Convention.

The quotation exception and its mandatory nature stems from a
principle that framed the negotiations leading to the formation of the
Berne Convention in 1884 described by the distinguished Swiss delegate
Numa Droz as, and I quote, “it should be remembered that limits to
absolute protection are rightly set by the public interest”. Thus this
new treaty continues in the spirit of a tradition set by the founding
fathers of the international copyright system. It will help the system
to work today for people, and will help to earn respect for copyright
law in society.

Libraries are key agencies serving print disabled people. We will
share the news with our colleagues at the National Library of Lesotho
that the legal barriers to the chronic shortage of accessible books -
described by one former VIP student as a disaster – are being lifted.
We will tell staff at Ulaanbaatar Public Library in Mongolia that the
children who currently rely on ancient Braille textbooks published
during the socialist period will be able to access modern materials on
their new DAISY readers. We will explain to the Lithuanian Library for
the Blind that in future they can get books for national minorities
who need literature in other languages, such as Polish and Russian,
and that they can serve qualified users from Lithuanian emigrant
communities living in other European countries.

We look forward to working with our governments so that the benefits
of the treaty are passed on quickly and efficiently. We thank all
delegations and the Secretariat most sincerely for your commitment to
achieving the goal.

Mr President, this is not the end of a process, but the start of an
era – an era of hope that the blight of the book famine may finally be
coming to an end.

Thank you for your attention.

Marrakesh, 27 June 2013

More information about the A2k mailing list