The House of Representatives, on Wednesday (June 7), passed the Copyright (Amendment) Act, 2023.
The legislation was piloted by Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr Nigel Clarke.
In his remarks, Clarke said the Copyright Act of 1993 was amended in 2015 to provide persons with a print or hearing disability access to copies or adaptations of published literary or dramatic works, with the permission of the copyright owner, in accordance with Jamaica’s obligations under the Marrakesh Treaty.
“The Act is now being further amended to enable greater access to books and other copyright works by blind, visually impaired or otherwise, print disabled or hearing disabled persons in Jamaica,” the Minister explained.
“These amendments are also intended to ensure that the provisions of the Act are more consistent with the Marrakesh Treaty. It is intended that such access to copyright works will empower persons with a print or hearing disability, including disabled children in private and State homes, and those enrolled in educational institutions who would not otherwise have access to such works,” he added.
For his part, Opposition Spokesperson on Finance, Julian Robinson, said the changes being made to the Act can be described as progressive, “as we are seeking to expand access to those who are from what we may term the differently abled community, blind and other persons who have disabilities to ensure that they can access content”.
“So, this is the type of legislation that we would support, and we hope that the members of that community can take full advantage of it,” Robinson said.
The Marrakesh Treaty was adopted on June 27, 2013 in Marrakesh, Morocco and forms part of the body of international copyright treaties administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).
It has a clear humanitarian and social development dimension, and its main goal is to create a set of mandatory limitations and exceptions for the benefit of the blind, visually impaired, and otherwise print disabled.