Text - Treaty Document: Senate Consideration of Treaty Document 114-6All Information (Except Treaty Text)

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[Senate Treaty Document 114-6]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]









114th Congress    }                               {       Treaty Doc.
                                 SENATE
 2d Session       }                               {         114-6                     
_______________________________________________________________________
 
 MARRAKESH TREATY TO FACILITATE ACCESS TO PUBLISHED WORKS FOR PERSONS 
     WHO ARE BLIND, VISUALLY IMPAIRED, OR OTHERWISE PRINT DISABLED

                               __________

                                MESSAGE

                                  from

                     THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES

                              transmitting

   THE MARRAKESH TREATY TO FACILITATE ACCESS TO PUBLISHED WORKS FOR 
PERSONS WHO ARE BLIND, VISUALLY IMPAIRED, OR OTHERWISE PRINT DISABLED, 
         DONE AT MARRAKESH ON JUNE 27, 2013 (MARRAKESH TREATY)

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 February 10, 2016.--Treaty was read the first time, and together with 
the accompanying papers, referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations 
          and ordered to be printed for the use of the Senate
          
          
                                   ______

                         U.S. GOVERNMENT PUBLISHING OFFICE 

59-118                         WASHINGTON : 2016          
          
          
          
          
          
          
          
          
                         LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL

                              ----------                              

                                The White House, February 10, 2016.
To the Senate of the United States:
    With a view to receiving the advice and consent of the 
Senate to ratification, I transmit herewith the Marrakesh 
Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who 
Are Blind, Visually Impaired, or Otherwise Print Disabled, done 
at Marrakesh on June 27, 2013 (Marrakesh Treaty). I also 
transmit, for the information of the Senate, a report of the 
Secretary of State with respect to the Marrakesh Treaty that 
includes a summary of its provisions.
    This copyright treaty, concluded under the auspices of the 
World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), advances the 
national interest of the United States in promoting the 
protection and enjoyment of creative works. The Marrakesh 
Treaty lays a foundation, in a manner consistent with existing 
international copyright standards, for further opening up a 
world of knowledge for persons with print disabilities by 
improving their access to published works.
    The United States played a leadership role in the 
negotiation of the treaty, and its provisions are broadly 
consistent with the approach and structure of existing U.S. 
law. Narrow changes in U.S. law will be needed for the United 
States to implement certain provisions of the treaty. Proposed 
legislation is being submitted to both houses of the Congress 
in conjunction with this transmittal.
    I recommend that the Senate give early and favorable 
consideration to the Marrakesh Treaty, and give its advice and 
consent to its ratification.
                                                      Barack Obama.
                                                      
                                                      
                                                      
                                                      
                                                      
                                                      
                                                      
                                                      
                                                      
                                                      
                          LETTER OF SUBMITTAL

                              ----------                              

                                       Department of State,
                                      Washington, January 22, 2016.
The President,
The White House.
    The President: I have the honor to submit to you, with a 
view to its transmittal to the Senate for advice and consent to 
ratification, the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to 
Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired, 
or Otherwise Print Disabled, done at Marrakesh June 27, 2013 
(Marrakesh Treaty). The United States played a leadership role 
in the development of the Treaty, which was negotiated under 
the auspices of the World Intellectual Property Organization 
(WIPO). Joining the Marrakesh Treaty will promote the 
development of appropriate international rules in the realm of 
intellectual property and make a positive tangible difference 
in the lives of ordinary Americans and other individuals who 
are visually impaired or have other print disabilities.
    A brief summary of the treaty follows below. A detailed 
overview of the treaty, with an article-by-article summary, is 
enclosed.
    The purpose of the Marrakesh Treaty is to reduce the global 
shortage of print materials in special accessible formats for 
the many millions of Americans and others throughout the world 
who are blind, visually impaired or have other print 
disabilities, such as physical limitations that prevent holding 
a book. At present, according to WIPO, only a small percentage 
of the more than one million books published worldwide every 
year are available in Braille, large print, or accessible 
digital files, resulting in diminished access to information, 
culture and education for persons with print disabilities. The 
Marrakesh Treaty addresses this gap by providing, with 
appropriate safeguards, that copyright restrictions should not 
impede the creation and distribution of such special format 
copies, and by fostering the exchange of such copies 
internationally.
    Initiatives to combat what has been widely called the 
``book famine'' affecting individuals with print disabilities 
began to draw widespread international interest and support at 
WIPO in the mid-2000s, spurred in particular by stakeholder 
organizations and a group of Latin American countries. In 
connection with the ongoing discussions, the U.S. Patent and 
Trademark Office and the U.S. Copyright Office organized public 
forums and expert meetings on the subject, leading the United 
States to develop and introduce its own proposal at WIPO in 
2010. Additional proposals were offered by a group of African 
countries and the European Union (EU). Working closely with 
Brazil, Nigeria, the EU, and others, the United States helped 
lead the negotiations to reconcile the differences in the 
various proposals and ensure that the resulting treaty on 
exceptions and limitations for the blind and visually impaired 
would be consistent with the existing international copyright 
framework. The Treaty was adopted at a diplomatic conference in 
Marrakesh, Morocco, June 27, 2013.
    The Marrakesh Treaty includes two core elements designed to 
promote access to published works for persons with print 
disabilities. First, it requires every Treaty party to provide 
an exception or limitation in its national copyright law to 
copyright holders' exclusive rights of reproduction, 
distribution, and making available published works to the 
public, in order to facilitate the availability of books and 
other printed materials in accessible formats. Second, the 
Treaty requires that parties allow ``authorized entities'' (for 
example, libraries, or organizations devoted to assisting the 
visually impaired) to distribute such ``accessible format 
copies'' to other authorized entities and to ``beneficiary 
persons'' (individuals who meet defined criteria for visual or 
other reading-related impairments) in other countries that are 
party to the Treaty.
    These provisions to promote access for individuals with 
print disabilities are paired with safeguards to assure the 
interests of those holding copyright in the disseminated works. 
The Treaty keeps the scope of the required exception or 
limitation within the parameters set by existing international 
copyright agreements; specifies areas regarding the handling 
and distribution of accessible format copies in which 
authorized entities in Treaty parties establish and follow 
their own practices; limits distribution of accessible format 
copies to within a party's territory in certain circumstances; 
and emphasizes that such copies are for the exclusive use of 
beneficiary persons.
    The provisions of the Marrakesh Treaty are generally 
compatible with existing U.S. law. Narrow statutory changes for 
the United States to implement the Marrakesh Treaty are 
described in the separate proposed legislation that the 
Administration is submitting to the Senate and to the House of 
Representatives in conjunction with this Treaty. The Marrakesh 
Treaty is non-self-executing.
    Since the enactment in 1996 of the Chafee Amendment to the 
U.S. Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. Sec. 121, print-disabled 
individuals' access to printed materials in the United States 
has flourished. Incorporating this framework into the Marrakesh 
Treaty helps foster cross-border exchange that can further 
address the global ``book famine,'' without compromising 
standards for intellectual property protection. If the United 
States joins the Treaty, implementation by the United States 
and other parties should result in more English and foreign-
language works becoming available to individuals with print 
disabilities in the United States, and more U.S.-origin works 
becoming available to such persons in other countries.
    In view of the foregoing, I recommend that the Marrakesh 
Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who 
Are Blind, Visually Impaired, or Otherwise Print Disabled be 
transmitted to the Senate as soon as possible for its advice 
and consent to ratification.
    Respectfully submitted.
                                                     John F. Kerry.
    Enclosures: As stated.
    
    
    
    
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