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The Marrakesh Treaty Entered into Force with Respect to China

The Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled entered into force with respect to China on May 5.

In order to remove copyright barriers for persons with print disabilities to access works at the international legislative level, in June 2013, the Treaty was adopted at the diplomatic conference held by the World Intellectual Property Organization in Marrakesh, Morocco. China is one of the first signatories to the Treaty. As the only international copyright treaty to include a clear human rights perspective, the Treaty aims to provide the print disabled with the opportunities to obtain and use works, and to ensure their equal access to cultural resources and education.

China has always attached great importance to ensuring the equal right to works and education for persons who are blind, visually impaired or otherwise print disabled. China’s Copyright Law, which came into force on June 1, 1991, stipulated that a published work may be published in Braille without the permission of and payment of royalties to the copyright owner. On November 11, 2020, the third amendment to China’s Copyright Law was approved and came into force on June 1, 2021, which extended fair use to “provision of published works to the print disabled in an accessible way which they can perceive”. On October 23, 2021, the 31st session of the 13th National People’s Congress Standing Committee adopted the Decision of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee on the Ratification of the Marrakesh Treaty. On February 5, 2022, China deposited the instrument of ratification of the Marrakesh Treaty with the World Intellectual Property Organization.

According to the results of the second China National Sample Survey on Disability (CNSSD), China has about 17.32 million people who are blind or have low vision. There are possibly even larger number of people who are print disabled in China.

Head of the National Copyright Administration of China stated that after the Marrakesh Treaty entered into force with respect to China, the Treaty will greatly enrich the spiritual and cultural life of Chinese people who are print disabled, improve their education level, strengthen the connections between overseas Chinese people who are print disabled and China, and promote international dissemination of China’s excellent works. It will further increase China’s discourse power and expand China’s global influence in the field of copyright, and show China’s international image of vigorously developing social welfare for the disabled and fully respecting human rights.