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European Commission - Statement

Statement by Vice-President Ansip on the European Parliament's vote to implement the Marrakesh Treaty in the EU: blind and visually impaired people will have a better access to books

Brussels, 6 July 2017

Today, the European Parliament formally approved the new rules to implement the Marrakesh Treaty in the European Union, confirming a preliminary agreement reached with the Council of the EU on 10 May 2017. 

Vice-President for the Digital Single Market Andrus Ansip welcomed the vote and said: 

"I am pleased that the European Parliament has backed this plan, just ten months after we presented it as part of our initiatives to modernise EU copyright rules.

The Parliament's positive vote means that people who are blind, visually impaired, or otherwise print-disabled will soon be able to access more books and other print material, including adapted audio books and e-books, in accessible formats - across the European Union and the rest of the world.

This is essential to improve their social inclusion, access to culture and entertainment.

The new rules create a mandatory and EU-wide exception to copyright rules. They will allow special formats of print material - such as braille or daisy - to be made and disseminated for people with print disabilities.

Today's vote is an important achievement within the strategy to build a functional Digital Single Market in Europe, for which we need modern copyright rules.

Europeans want cross-border access to our rich and diverse culture. We want to provide clearer rules for everyone in light of today's new digital reality and make more content available across the EU."


The EU legislation on the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled was proposed by the Commission as part as the ongoing modernisation of the EU copyright law.

The Council is expected to formally endorse therules shortly. The new EU rules will be in force within 12 months.

The Marrakesh Treaty itself was adopted at the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) in 2013. It provides for the cross-border exchange of accessible format copies under exceptions and limitations to copyright. 

Today's vote paves the way for a rapid ratification of the Marrakesh Treaty by the European Union.

For More Information 

Press release political compromise on the implementation of the Marrakesh Treaty will give a better access to books for blind and other disabled people

Press release Commission proposes modern EU copyright rules for European culture to flourish and circulate

Q&A modernisation of EU copyright rules

Vice-President Ansip's statement on the European Court of Justice ruling on the ratification of the Marrakesh Treaty



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