The ATRIP Congress ended on an unbelievable high as news came in of the conclusion of the Treaty to Improve Access to Published Works for Persons who are Blind, Visually Impaired, or otherwise Print Disabled at Marrakesh.
Years of hard work and advocacy finally paid off when the treaty text was agreed upon. James Love summarises the import of the treaty as follows:
'The text of this treaty provides a strong legal and political basis for copyright exceptions for persons with disabilities. The treaty will vastly expand access to works, particularly among persons sharing a common language, such as English, Spanish, Arabic and French, or persons who read multiple languages, or persons living in other countries with different languages.' (see full statement here and an archive of relevant documents here).
For its part, South Africa said:
'The name Marrakesh will forever resonate with this landmark treaty that seeks to address the balance between private and public interests in line with the principles of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Persons with disabilities across the world in both developed and developing worlds have fought long and hard to have access to knowledge in accessible formats. This treaty creates an enabling legal framework to do so. It provides an impetus for a rights based approach and the full inclusion of disabled persons in society... South Africa is embarking on the process of reviewing its copyright legislation and will accede to the Treaty when all internal processes are concluded.
In conclusion, South Africa continues to attach great importance to a balanced approach between intellectual property right holders and public interest and it is within this context, that we reaffirm our support and commitment to this treaty.' (see full statement here)