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European Union (Marrakesh Treaty) Regulations 2018 (SI No 412 of 2018)

The EU Marrakesh Treaty Regulations 2018 were signed into Irish law by Minister Heather Humphreys TD on 9 October 2018 and came into effect on 11 October 2018.

These Regulations act to incorporate into Irish law EU Directive 2017/1564 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 September 2017 on certain permitted uses of certain works and other subject matter protected by copyright and related rights for the benefit of persons who are blind, visually impaired or otherwise print-disabled and amending Directive 2001/29/EC on the harmonisation of certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the information society.

The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation conducted a public consultation on the transposition of the EU Directive 2017/1564 into Irish law. The Department received a number of responses to the consultation from organisations representing persons with a disability as well as organisations representing rightholders. There was support for the implementation of the Marrakesh Treaty into Irish law and the responses received were considered in the course of the transposition process.

The aim of these Regulations is to improve the availability and accessibility of certain works by allowing for copies of copyright protected works (such as books, e-books, journals, newspapers, magazines and other kinds of writing) to be made available in accessible formats (e.g. Braille, large print, e-books or audiobook) for the blind, visually impaired, or otherwise print-disabled, without requiring the permission of the rightsholder. It allows “beneficiary persons”- persons who are blind, visually impaired or otherwise print disabled; persons acting on behalf of a beneficiary person; and, “authorised entities”- organisations established for the purpose of assisting persons with print disability; to make an accessible format copy of a work or other print material for their exclusive use. It also permits “authorised entities”, to make, communicate, make available, distribute or lend an accessible format copy of a work to a “beneficiary person” or another “authorised entity” within the EU.

A separate EU Regulation 2017/1563 provides for the cross-border exchange of accessible format copies between EU Member States and third countries that are parties to the Marrakesh Treaty. Regulation 2017/1563 has direct effect across the EU and does not require transposition into national legislation.

The Department has prepared a set of Guidance Notes on these Regulations to assist “beneficiary persons” and “authorised entities” to understand what they are permitted to do under the Regulations. The Guidance Notes also outline the obligations and practices that authorised entities must adhere to.

For ease of reference, a link to the text of EU Directive 2017/1564 and EU Regulation 2017/1563 are provided below.