World Book and Copyright Day 23 April 2018

“April 23 is marked annually as the World Book and Copyright Day. On this occasion, the World Blind Union highlights the importance of books and promotes its vision of inclusive societies where people with visual disabilities can freely access and share printed materials across borders without discrimination.

With fewer than 5% of published works accessible to people with visual disabilities worldwide, and fewer than 1% accessible in the developing countries, the World Blind Union is pushing for the ratification and implementation of Marrakesh Treaty by all countries. The Treaty calls on countries to modify their national copyright laws to permit the production of accessible works. The Treaty also authorizes cross-border exchange of accessible works and permits direct distribution of accessible materials to individuals—critical for people in poor countries that may not have libraries or schools for the blind to manage distribution.”


The Marrakesh Treaty was adopted on 27 June 2013 in Marrakesh, Morocco and came into force in September last year. Currently there are nine countries in Africa that have ratified the Treaty. Unfortunately, South Africa has not ratified as yet.


The Copyright Act of 1979 has for the past two decades been in discussion due to some of the provisions being out of date. The inclusion of exceptions and limitations in accordance with the Marrakesh Treaty to facilitate access to published works for the blind, visually impaired and other persons with print disability in the Copyright Bill of 2015 which is currently with the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee was endorsed by Blind SA and the blindness sector in South Africa. The concern is the delay in promulgating the Copyright Bill and ratifying the Marrakesh Treaty by the South African Parliament.


Blind SA urges Parliament to without delay Ratify the Marrakesh Treaty and domesticate the Treaty by enacting the Copyright Bill which provides exception and limitation for blind, visually impaired and other persons with disability to access published works in an accessible format.

Blind SA produces books in braille, daisy, and audio at Braille Services.


How braille is made – watch the Youtube video!


For more information contact:


Jace Nair

Blind SA

Tel: 011 8391793

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