India has become the first country to ratify the Marrakesh Treaty to facilitate access to published works for persons who are visually impaired, or otherwise print disabled. The Treaty was adopted by 79 member countries of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) on June 27, 2013, and India ratified it on June 24 this year.

India handed over the Instrument of Ratification to WIPO at the 28th session of the Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights in Geneva.

The Marrakesh Treaty will come into force once 20 countries ratify it. The treaty requires signatories to adopt national law provisions that facilitate the availability of published works in formats like Braille that are accessible to the blind and allow their exchange across borders by organisations working for the visually impaired.

The treaty will facilitate import of accessible format copies from the member states by the Indian authorised entities such as educational institutions, libraries and other institutions working for the benefit of the visually impaired. This will also facilitate translation of imported accessible format copies and export of accessible format copies in Indian languages.

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