Marrakesh Treaty enters into force

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Marrakesh Treaty enters into force

The Copyright (Marrakesh Treaty Implementation) Amendment Act entered into force on 4 January 2020. It amends the Copyright Act 1994 and the Copyright (General Matters) Regulations 1995 to implement New Zealand’s obligations under the Marrakesh Treaty.

The Copyright (Marrakesh Treaty Implementation) Amendment Act entered into force on 4 January 2020. It amends the Copyright Act 1994 and the Copyright (General Matters) Regulations 1995 to implement New Zealand’s obligations under the Marrakesh Treaty.

New Zealand acceded to the Marrakesh Treaty in October 2019. It is an international agreement that improves visually-impaired people’s access to copyright works (such as Braille, audio and large print).

What this means for New Zealand businesses

The Marrakesh Treaty provides an international legal framework for copyright exceptions for authorised entities. This allows for the reproduction, distribution and cross-border exchange of copyright works in accessible formats – between countries party to the Treaty.

Authorised Entities can import and export books in accessible formats without the copyright owner’s permission, within the confines of individual national laws.

Now the Amendment Act is in force, organisations that meet the definition of “Authorised Entities” in section 69 of the Amendment Act  may apply to carry out the following activities:

  • make and distribute accessible format copies of literary and artistic works within New Zealand without seeking the permission of the owner of the copyright in these works;
  • export these copies to other Marrakesh member countries;
  • import accessible format copies made by authorised entities in other Marrakesh member countries.

See a global list of Authorised Entities 

How to apply

Section 69A of the Amendment Act requires Authorised Entities to notify MBIE before they begin to make accessible format copies under section 69A. A list of organisations that have notified MBIE will be published on the MBIE website at Notifications under section 69(2) of the Copyright Act 1994 

The notification should include the full name of the organisation, together with the contact details of a person who can be contacted by MBIE if we have any queries. These contact details will not be published.

Organisations that wish to act as authorised entities should send their notifications to: MarrakeshTreaty@mbie.govt.nz 

Visit the MBIE website for more information.

The Treaty in Action – The Accessible Books Consortium

After an organisation is recognised as an Authorised Entity, they are able to use the ABC Global Book Service (formerly TIGAR).

The ABC Global Book Service (formerly TIGAR) is an online catalogue that allows organisations serving people who are print disabled or participating libraries for the blind, known as authorised entities, to easily obtain the accessible content they need.

Access the ABC Global Book Service 

The World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO) and a group of key partners launched the Accessible Books Consortium (ABC) in 2014, to boost the number of books worldwide in accessible formats for people who are blind, visually impaired, or otherwise print disabled.