Intellectual Property Office publishes Guidance on Changes to copyright law to implement the Marrakesh Directive (2017/1564/EU)

The 2013 Marrakesh Treaty is an international legal instrument which aims to improve visually impaired and print-disabled people’s access to copyright works around the world by requiring its contracting parties to provide exceptions to copyright allowing the making of accessible copies and the transfer of such copies across borders.

In 2017, the EU introduced Directive (EU) 2017/1564 and Regulation (EU) 2017/1563 to implement the Treaty and to ensure EU compliance with the Treaty. To implement the Directive, the Government laid before Parliament The Copyright and Related Rights (Marrakesh Treaty etc.) (Amendment) Regulations 2018, which entered into force on 11 October 2018.

Key elements of the UK’s implementation of the Marrakesh Directive include:

  • an accessible copy of a work can be made for a disabled person who has any form of disability that prevents them from accessing copyright and other works. There are limited instances where this is not the case, e.g. in respect of the sui generis database right. Additionally, any provisions connected to the transfer of copies from other countries which are party to the Treaty will need to apply only to copies made for visually impaired or print disabled people. This reflects the scope of the Treaty and the EU’s implementing legislation;
  • the rules applying to authorised bodies, i.e. those who can make and supply accessible copies, are in line with those in the Marrakesh Directive;
  • the permitted acts outlined by the disability exceptions are consistent with those in the Marrakesh Directive; and
  • there are no commercial availability restrictions on when an accessible copy can be made.

The IPO Guidance sets out certain aspects of the approach taken in the UK. This includes further information on key definitions in the Directive, how the changes will impact affected groups, and the obligations placed on authorised bodies. To access the Guidance, click here.