The press release below was issued on August 4th, 2016 by NCBI. It signals Ireland’s getting ready to adopt the Marrakesh Treaty. In order to ratify (adopt) the Treaty, domestic copyright laws should first undergo updating and changes to permit for a freer access to print and informational materials in digital forms. Ireland, judging from the below release and statement by Minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor indicates that we are on a short road to ratification of the Marrakesh Treaty.
Release by NCBI August 4th, 2016
The Government is to take steps to end the book famine experienced by upwards of 224,000 people in Ireland who are blind or visually impaired and particularly for students who are also print impaired. .
NCBI (the national sight loss agency) today welcomed the announcement by Deputy Mary Mitchell O’Connor (Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation) that Government approval had been given for the drafting of a General Scheme of Bill entitled Copyright and Related Rights (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill, 2016.
Ms. Elaine Howley (Director of Policy and Advocacy at NCBI) said, welcoming the minister’s announcement, at NCBI’s Media Centre in Dublin today, “all persons who are blind or partially sighted will greet the bill as positive steps towards the Government’s ratification of the Marrakesh Treaty to which Ireland’s signed up to in 2014 but has yet to ratify. What the Minister is announcing today will make a world of difference to everybody who wants to read for leisure or work and to students who have experienced a continuous scarcity of reading material for many years,” Ms. Howley said.
Ms. Howley explained that the Marrakesh treaty “is an international Treaty of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) framed to end ‘the book Famine’ of books and printed literature experienced by the world’s estimated 285 million people who are blind, visually impaired and print disabled.”
“Ireland was a significant advocate for the Treaty during our Presidency of the EU in 2013 and the government’s commitment has been recognised and applauded by other agencies representing people who are blind and vision impaired across Europe.” Ms. Howley said she “wished to pay tribute to Senator Martin Conway (FG) for the significant role played by the senator During the Irish presidency of the EU (in 2013) “in focusing attention on the need for Ireland to ratify the Marrakesh Treaty,” Ms. Howley said.
NCBI currently maintains a library of publications in Braille and audio formats where the printed word is recorded into audio and transcribed into Braille. The works of Irish authors are made accessible and available to library members.
“When the heads of this bill become law, Braille and digital copies of books and articles that were difficult to access heretofore without painstaking scanning of print, will be made more accessible by easier access to files directly from the publishers,” Ms. Howley said. Ms. Howley said she welcomed the minister’s indication that NCBI would be regarded as a ‘designated Body’ for whom the obtaining of copyright approval and access to print files will be made easier.