Marrakesh Treaty on homeward stretch

Kris Faffoi.

The Government has taken the next step towards ratification of the Marrakesh Treaty with the release of a draft Bill for public consultation, Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Kris Faafoi announced today.

The Bill will amend the Copyright Act 1994 to bring it into line with the provisions of the Marrakesh Treaty,” says Mr Faafoi.

”This will pave the way for the 168,000 New Zealanders with print disabilities to have greater access to copyright works in accessible formats, including Braille and large print.

“The Marrakesh Treaty is a multilateral treaty which makes it easier to share these copyright works in accessible formats across borders. Many countries including Australia, Canada, Chile, Singapore, and the EU have already signed up to the Marrakesh Treaty or are in the process of doing so.

"New Zealand already has an exception in the Copyright Act 1994 that allows organisations like the Blind Foundation to make accessible format copies of works for the benefit of individuals with a print disability. However producing a Braille copy of a book can cost around $5000.

“The cost of producing accessible format copies, and the challenges involved in importing such copies from other countries, means that material available in accessible formats is limited.

“Enacting this Bill and ratifying the Marrakesh Treaty will change that hugely – and will make a real difference to the lives of those who use these resources, their families and communities.

“I’m releasing a draft of the Bill before it is introduced to Parliament to give the public an indication of the amendments to be made to the Copyright Act 1994 and an opportunity to comment on the Bill”.

A copy of the draft Bill, together with a commentary explaining the provisions of the Bill can be found on the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment website here

The closing date for submissions is: 18 July 2018