Marrakesh Treaty – why are we waiting?

At the end of October I attended one of the quarterly meetings of LACA – the Libraries and Archives Copyright Alliance.  As usual it was a lively and interesting session. I feel fortunate indeed to work with so many knowledgeable folk from a plethora of backgrounds (a full list of members can be seen on the LACA webpages).

In the meetings we discuss copyright developments and issues at a national, EU, and international level. One issue that spans all three is the ratification of the Marrakesh Treaty. [Disclaimer: the following represents my own views, not those of LACA]. It seems baffling on the face of it as to why our government has not taken concrete steps to ensure that this important treaty is transposed into our laws. But, at a time of uncertainly with Brexit (and anti-EU feeling from some of those in government), it is not so surprising that the UK is questioning EU competence re. ratifying the Marrakesh treaty on behalf of the member states. The EU certainly dragged its heels for long enough in the first place, having signed the treaty in 2014, but at a time when they’ve produced a reasonable Directive and Regulation, this additional delay is a huge pity. We risk comprising human rights in order that we do not ‘capitulate’ on sovereignty. One can only hope that the UK government sees sense and stops blocking EU ratification or, failing that, moves swiftly to implement the letter and the spirit of Marrakesh into national law.

My blog for for CILIP on the subject can be seen at:


The book famine: whilst 5-7% of books are published in accessible form in the UK, this figure drops to just 1% in less developed countries. Marrakesh aims to redress this balance (image: CC0 from