Marrakesh Treaty options for implementation - due 30/11/2014

The Attorney-General’s Department is seeking comments on the ‘Marrakesh Treaty Options for Implementation Discussion Paper’ from interested stakeholders.

On 23 June 2014, the Australian Government signed the treaty and announced it will now bring it forward for ratification. The treaty will help overcome the barriers which affect the availability of accessible books and other material for people who are print-disabled worldwide.

The discussion paper is designed to guide submissions, not reflect an established policy position. The department welcomes views on these options as well as others that stakeholders consider would contribute to successful implementation of the Marrakesh Treaty.

This treaty is the first good step for international copyright for a long time. We will hopefully put in a strong submission pushing for as much freedom as possible. Please let us know if you want to assist.

I don’t know if we have a pad for this, but I thought I’d write a summary and hope it adds value. The deadline is end of this month so we have to do anything we can (maybe ask for an extension?).

The treaty is about making accessible format books for people with a disability (blindness, visual impairment, and or other print disability). Importantly for us, this includes non-commercial electronic sharing of files without seeking permission from rights holders (but only to people with a print disability).

Right now, certain organisations can create sound recordings, braille, large print, electronic and photographic versions of works. People using these works must have a print disability or it doesn’t count, and they get exceptions.

This has problems, notably:

  • The current legislation is verbose and scary. It makes it hard for an organisation to create an accessible work.
  • The “special organisations” have to do a bunch of work to be recognised.
  • The ALRC identified many of these and other issues.

There are three options for how to change the law:

  1. Minor amendment. Unsure what this even changes. Seems to lock things down even further. Probably not the option we want.
  2. Moderate amendment. This expands what can be reproduced and communicated, and simplifies the obligations of the organisations. Clearly, this is better than 1, but not as good as…
  3. Flexible amendment: A whole new fair dealing provision as recommended by the ALRC. Obviously, this is the one we want.


  • Fair dealing goes further than just print disability, and can cover all disabilities and potentially a good chunk of the laws we want.
  • Technological Protection Measures (TPM aka DRM) is OK to circumvent for people with a print disability. They should add similar circumvention laws to for fair dealing.

We should address:

  • Which option is best for us
  • Do we need to think about the statutory license for the Marrakesh treaty (yes, because in practise this is way too onerous to do)
  • Should the department issue guidelines (this is probably weasel wording considering the guidelines are probably worthless in a legal sense)
  • Would any of the options be extra good / bad (options 1 and 2 will be bad, and 3 will be good)

Here’s a pad for people to start adding notes, links, etc: