SHARJAH: The UAE Ministry of Economy has authorised Kalimat Foundation (KF) to facilitate access of the visually impaired and print-disabled to published works in line with the terms of the Marrakesh Treaty, making it the country’s first non-profit organisation to obtain such a licence.
The licence enables KF to reproduce, distribute and make copies of published works available in accessible formats for the blind, visually impaired, and otherwise print disabled, within the country or internationally, without infringing copyright.
Bodour Al Qasimi, Founder and Chairperson of Kalimat Foundation and President of the International Publishers Association, emphasised that the foundation’s recognition as an authorised entity will allow it to take advantage of the exemptions to copyright under the Marrakesh Treaty, administered by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO).
Al Qasimi thanked the Ministry of Economy for their trust in the foundation, which reflects the support provided by the nation’s wise leadership to all cultural institutions and their belief in the importance of making knowledge accessible to all segments of the community.
She pointed out that the copyright exemption attained through the treaty would strengthen KF’s programmes and initiatives targeting children, which aim to uphold their right to access books and knowledge sources.
Abdulla Ahmed Al Saleh, Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Economy, said, “The UAE is keen to develop its laws and regulations regarding intellectual property (IP) and copyright protection in line with international best practices. The Federal Decree-Law No. (38) of 2021 on Copyright and Neighbouring Rights empowers differently-abled people with visual impairment to gain access to knowledge and helps them further their participation in cultural life, boost creativity, and harness the benefits of technological progress in publishing through the country’s accession to the Marrakesh Treaty.”
Al Saleh pointed out that the licence to the Kalimat Foundation reflects the UAE’s commitment to nurturing intellectual and creative works that target the differently-abled and reinforces its position as a distinguished global hub for creativity and innovation.
The licence enables the foundation to upload and download books in the Epub3 format from WIPO’s ABC Global Book Service to increase the number of books available. KF is focused on adding more Arabic titles.
Through a partnership agreement signed in 2019 with Knowledge without Borders’s cultural initiative – “1001 Titles”, KF has launched 100 titles in Epub3.
The Marrakesh Treaty was adopted on June 27, 2013, and came into force on September 30, 2016. It requires contracting parties to introduce a standard set of limitations and exceptions to copyright rules to permit reproduction, distribution, and make available of published works in formats designed to be accessible to persons who are blind, visually impaired, or otherwise print disabled.
Through its Ara initiative, which aims to support blind and visually impaired children by facilitating the production of accessible Arabic content, the foundation has provided more than 20,000 titles in various formats at 36 locations in six Middle East and North African countries.