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Congress Passes Legislation Implementing the Marrakesh Treaty

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On October 9, 2018, President Trump signed into law a statute that implements the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled (Marrakesh Treaty). The implementing legislation broadens access to published works for persons with visual disabilities and paves the way for the United States to ratify the Marrakesh Treaty.

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1 White House Press Release, President Donald J. Trump Signs H.R. 46, H.R. 2259, H.R. 4854, H.R. 4958, S. 791, S. 1668 and S. 2559 into Law (Oct. 10, 2018), at https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/president-donald-j-trump-signs-h-r-46-h-r-2259-h-r-4854-h-r-4958-s-791-s-1668-s-2559-law [https://perma.cc/T2CA-YEAG] [hereinafter White House Press Release].

2 U.S. Dep't of State Press Release, Adoption of the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired, or Otherwise Print Disabled (June 28, 2013), at https://2009-2017.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2013/06/211308.htm [https://perma.cc/5WG6-PHSC]; Summary of the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired, or Otherwise Print Disabled (MVT) (2013), World Intell. Prop. Org., at http://www.wipo.int/treaties/en/ip/marrakesh/summary_marrakesh.html [https://perma.cc/5V4S-FGYP]. The United States signed the treaty on October 2, 2013. Understanding the Marrakesh Treaty Implementation Act, U.S. Copyright Off., available at https://www.copyright.gov/legislation/2018_marrakesh_faqs.pdf [https://perma.cc/4BKM-A8W2] [hereinafter Copyright Office Information Sheet].

3 Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled, Arts. 3, 4, June 27, 2013, 52 ILM 1312.

4 Id. Art. 5.

6 164 Cong. Rec. S109,4421 (including a declaration that the treaty is non-self-executing); S. 2559, 115th Cong. (2018), 164 Cong. Rec. S109,4810–11 (daily ed. June 28, 2018). As these sources indicate, both the treaty and the implementing legislation came to a vote through the unanimous consent procedure in the Senate.

7 S. 2559, 115th Cong. (2018), 164 Cong. Rec. H158,8838 (daily ed. September 25, 2018); White House Press Release, supra note 1.

8 Copyright Office Information Sheet, supra note 2, at 3 (also noting that the treaty will enter into force for the United States ninety days after ratification).

9 The Marrakesh Treaty Implementation Act, Pub. L. No. 115-261 (to be codified as amended at 17 U.S.C. § 121); Legislative Branch Appropriations Act of 1997, Pub. L. No. 104-197, 110 Stat. 2394 (codified as amended at 17 U.S.C. § 121).

10 The Marrakesh Treaty Implementation Act § 2(a)(1)(A).

11 Id. § 2(a)(1)(C)–(D).

12 Id. § 2(a)(2)(a). Authorized entities are defined as nonprofit organizations or governmental agencies with a primary mission to serve the visually impaired or other persons with disabilities. Id., § 2(a)(2)(f).

13 Id. § 2(a)(2)(b).

14 164 Cong. Rec. S126,5417–18 (daily ed. July 26, 2018) (documenting the Senate's advice and consent to all four of these treaties through unanimous consent and including declarations that all four treaties are self-executing).

15 Extradition Treaty with the Republic of Serbia, S. Treaty Doc. No. 115-1; Extradition Treaty with the Republic of Kosovo, S. Treaty Doc. No. 115-2.

16 The Treaties with the Republic of Kiribati and the Government of the Federated States of Micronesia on the Delimitation of Maritime Boundaries, S. Treaty Doc. No. 114-13 (including two separate treaties under a single treaty document number).

17 Protocol to the North Atlantic Treaty of 1949 on the Accession of Montenegro, S. Treaty Doc. No. 114-12; see also Daugirdas, Kristina & Mortenson, Julian Davis, Contemporary Practice of the United States, 111 AJIL 756, 762–64 (2017) (discussing the Senate's approval of this protocol).

18 S. Exec. Rep. 115-7 (Sept. 12, 2018) (reporting this treaty forward with six declarations and five understandings). As of November 30, 3018, it remained be seen whether it will receive a floor vote before the term of the current Congress ends in early January 2019.

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American Journal of International Law
  • ISSN: 0002-9300
  • EISSN: 2161-7953
  • URL: /core/journals/american-journal-of-international-law
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