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Amendment to IP law sought

The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) wants published materials to be more accessible to persons with physical disabilities and this prompted the agency to propose an amendment to the country’s copyright rules.

In a statement, IPOPHL said its proposed amendment to the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines would allow published materials to be reproduced for or distributed on a non-profit basis to people with physical disabilities. This is among the amendments that the IP office is proposing.

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This will expand the copyright limitation that was passed in the 2013 amendment of the country’s intellectual property law, which allowed this exclusively for use of blind, visually-, and reading-impaired persons.

“The provision widened the scope of copyright limitation not just to the blind, visually-impaired, and otherwise print-disabled persons, but also those unable (through physical disability) to hold or manipulate a book, or to focus or move the eyes to the extent normally acceptable for reading,” IPOPHL said.

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The government agency submitted its draft bill to Congress in November. A copy of this draft has not yet been released to the public.

This comes as IPOPHL moves to accede to a treaty under the World Intellectual Property Organization (Wipo), a document that Wipo said had “a clear humanitarian and social development dimension.”

Called the Marrakesh Treaty, the main goal of this treaty is “to create a set of mandatory limitations and exceptions for the benefit of the blind, visually impaired and otherwise print disabled (VIPs),” according to Wipo’s official website.

IPOPHL said it had submitted to Wipo its instrument of accession to this treaty on Dec. 18 last year. IPOPHL also said that it had been pushing for the country’s accession in a bid to increase trade in published materials in ‘accessible formats’

Publications in Braille format or audio books, for example, are considered accessible format copies.

Moreover, IPOPHL said the Marrakesh Treaty would allow the Philippines to export and import copyrighted works in accessible formats to and from other countries that are party to the agreement.

To date, there are 47 contracting parties to the Marrakesh Treaty.

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The treaty was adopted internally in June 2013. However, even before formally acceding to it, IPOPHL said the government had already “introduced the intent and spirit” of the treaty through Republic Act No. 10372, the 2013 amendment to the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines.

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TAGS: intellectual property, Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines, IP Law
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