Under the Estonian Presidency an agreement on the legal framework for EU ratification was reached last Friday, September 22nd by the Council Working Group on Copyright closely following the terms of the European Court opinion that established exclusive EU to ratify the Marrakesh Treaty. There is no text available yet but we have been told there are no controversial issues involved nor any reference to the WIPO Marrakesh Assembly. This agreement has now been sent to be translated which will take 3 weeks and then it needs to be first approved by EU member state ambassadors and afterwards by ministers in the Council. Once the Council has approved it, the Plenary of the European Parliament will ratify the agreement.
This process will probably take two or three months. Nevertheless, EU ratification will not become effective until it is deposited at the World intellectual Property Organization which will not take place until mid 2018 when it has been implemented into EU member state laws.
The focus now shifts to EU member states that need to integrate the new EU legislation, Directive and Regulation, into their national copyright laws before September 2018. https://ec.europa.eu/digital-single-market/en/news/implementation-marrakesh-treaty-eu-law (External link) Here the key decision that needs to be made is whether or not each individual EU member states will include the optional “compensation right” or “tax on accessible works” for rightsholders and publishers. We hope not!
To date 31 countries have deposited their ratification of the Treaty. Next week in Geneva at WIPO the “Marrakesh Assembly” will take place that monitors the application, extension and impact of the Treaty around the world.
David Hammerstein, European Blind Union