One achievement emerged from the otherwise unsuccessful 27th meeting Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights in Geneva, the signing of the Marrakesh Treaty by the EU, India, Greece and France.
As the Chair of the meeting, Martin Moscoso of Peru, noted that the 'Marakesh Treaty which was one of the great achievements of the Member States in this organization in the last two years' with 'the goal of ending the book famine by improving access to published works and accessible formats of published works for the estimated 260 million persons in the world who are blind as well as those who suffer from other print disabilities'.
In her statement, the Indian representative said
India will be ratifying this Treaty very soon. The task does not end here. We have to put in place appropriate mechanisms to implement the provisions of this Treaty in its true spirit with cooperation of all of the Member States and the international Bureau of WIPO. Once more, I think thank you all for giving me this opportunity. Thank you.
India has signaled its intention to ratify by the end of the month. If it does so it will be the first country to do so, an historic achievement. Other countries will hopefully ratify soon.
Greece, speaking on behalf of the EU, emphasized the practical importance of the treaty
We want to convey a strong message that we want this Treaty to work and serve its original purpose. That is to accommodate the needs of blind and print disabled when it comes to access to books and to other print material.
However they also seemed unable to resist a reminder that the EU remains opposed to protecting the interests of other users at international level 'We consider the aim of the Treaty unique in many respects, exceptional in many aspects, and, therefore, not comparable to any other type of exception for limitation'. This sentiment was clearly on display two days later when they were instrumental in the collapse of the SCCR over refusal to incorporate the words 'text-based' in the conclusions for the libraries and archives instrument, worried it implied treaty level protection.
Back home in Australia the government is still to sign the treaty. We would urge all speed to add Australia's signature to this important document, and contribute our part to ending the book famine.