National Conference on the Marrakesh Treaty Gathers Visually-Impaired Sector, Academe, Libraries, and relevant Government Agencies
IPOPHL Director General Josephine R. Santiago (5th from right) welcomes WIPO Legal Officer and Copyright expert, Mr. Paolo Lanteri (4th from right) and speakers to the National Conference on the Opportunities and Challenges in the Implementation of the Marrakesh Treaty on March 8, 2017 at the Auditorium of the UP-BGC. Standing from left are: Atty. Louie Andrew Calvario of the IPOPHL, Ms. Mayette Regala of the Resources for the Blind, Director Carmen Peralta of the IPOPHL, Mr. Hiroshi Kawamura of the DAISY Consortium, Joint Secretary G.R. Raghavender of the Department of Justice, India, IPOPHL DG Santiago, WIPO Legal Officer Paolo Lanteri, Governor’s Advocate on Disability Affairs, Mr. Ronnel Del Rio, Ms. Elvira Lapuz of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), and Ms. Michelle Flor of the National Library of the Philippines.
In a conference to bring to light the opportunities and challenges in the implementation of the Marrakesh Treaty, close to a hundred and fifty participants belonging to the visually impaired sector, academe, libraries, book publishers, and relevant government sector gathered to take part in the whole-day event.
The Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons who are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print-disabled had been adopted by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) member states on June 27, 2013. The treaty provides that the contracting party shall introduce a standard set of limitations and exceptions to copyright rules in order to permit the reproduction, distribution, and making available of published works accessible to the blind, visually impaired and otherwise print disabled (VIPs). Accordingly, the treaty aims to end “book famine” across the world by facilitating access to published works by visually impaired persons and those suffering from print disabilities and by permitting exchange of these works across borders by the authorized entities.
The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) is now working towards the Philippine accession to the Treaty. IPOPHL collaborated with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and other international organizations, such as the World Blind Union and the Resources for the Blind to conduct the National Conference on the Opportunities and Challenges of the Marrakesh Treaty on March 8, 2017. In her Opening Remarks, IPOPHL Director General Josephine R. Santiago said that the timing of the Conference on the Marrakesh Treaty was very favourable as the learning and exchanges of ideas that could be generated during the event can contribute to the proper implementation of the Treaty once ratified by the country. She added that she has high hopes that the Treaty will be easily signed by the President as it will benefit the more than 3 million visually impaired Filipinos to have adequate access to published works.
International experts, WIPO Legal Officer Mr. Paolo Lanteri, Joint Secretary G.R. Raghavender of India, and Mr. Hiroshi Kawamura of DAISY Consortium in Japan, spent the day explaining the provisions and relevance of the Treaty and sharing their valuable insights on its implementation. The local experts, Mr. Ronnel Del Rio, Governor’s Advocate on Disability Affairs, Executive Director Carmen Zubiaga of the National Council on Disability Affairs, Ms. Michelle Flor of the National Library of the Philippines, and Ms. Mayette Regala of the Resources for the Blind shared with participants what their organizations are doing and how they are promoting the welfare of persons with disabilities in the area of facilitating and enhancing access to information.
The conference ended with a round table discussion that allowed the speakers and the participants to discuss, share insights, and clarify issues relating to the implementation of the Treaty.