Submission in Response to
Exposure Draft: Copyright (Marrakesh Treaty Implementation) Amendment Bill
Emailed to:

The Association of Blind Citizens of New Zealand Inc (Blind Citizens NZ) appreciates the opportunity to make a submission on the Exposure Draft: Copyright (Marrakesh Treaty Implementation) Amendment Bill.

Blind Citizens NZ is a disabled people’s organisation (DPO). Our members are blind, vision impaired or deafblind. We have commented in past submissions that historically, New Zealand has championed international conventions. New Zealand played a lead role in the drafting, development and subsequent ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (the Convention). Blind Citizens NZ applauds Government for making steady progress to accede to the Marrakesh Treaty, a multilateral treaty concluded by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) in 2013 in the Moroccan city of Marrakesh.

Our support for the Amendment Bill is evidenced in this submission which we consent to being available on the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment’s (MBIE) website.

We welcome an invitation to speak to and elaborate on the extent of feedback provided in our submission. To arrange this, please contact the Executive Officer Rose Wilkinson via either of the following options:
▪ Phone: 021 222 6940;
▪ Email:

Blind Citizens NZ’s submission to the Amendment Bill follows.

Rose Wilkinson
Executive Officer

Blind Citizens NZ: Submission in Response to
Exposure Draft: Copyright (Marrakesh Treaty Implementation) Amendment Bill
Legislative Changes proposed in the Exposure Draft

1.​Updating Section 69 of the existing Copyright Act 1994 (the Act) is the primary purpose of this Bill. Replacing the concept of ‘prescribed bodies’ with the concept of ‘authorised entities’, and identifying respective provisions for ‘authorised entities’ is paramount when realising the difference that changes to the Act will make for people with a print disability. Ultimately though, updating Section 69 will bring the Act into line so that it is consistent with the Marrakesh Treaty.

Additionally, the Bill provides a much-awaited and welcome opportunity to update terminology and other facets of the Act with current practice and modern-day language.

2.​The Bill brings to an end uncertainty that currently exists with respect to rights-holders and producers of accessible formats currently recognised under this exception to the Act. In our view, this is paramount when considering provisions in the Bill identify:
▪ who can make, reproduce and distribute accessible format copies i.e. authorised entities;
▪ what is meant by an accessible format;
▪ the extent to which an authorised entity must satisfy a ‘commercial availability test’;
▪ what activities an accessible format producer may carry out in its authorised entity capacity;
▪ which beneficiaries are provided for under the exception to the Act; and
▪ extending the definition of ‘works’ to include artistic works.

Blind Citizens NZ unreservedly supports all amendments and transitional provisions in the Bill.

3.​Recognising amendments to the Act and acceding to the Marrakesh Treaty will increase access to cross boarder material, people with a print disability here in New Zealand look forward to having greater choice and increased access to local publications. In our view there is potential for there to be an increase in authorised entities that produce quality alternate format copies such as braille. Outcomes such as this will go some way towards opening up choice for people with a print disability.

4.​Blind Citizens NZ recognises the need for the Bill to set out requirements for authorised entities and duties with regard to record keeping and the fees they may charge when producing accessible format copies. In this regard, previous submission opportunities and discussions with officials highlighted, at least from Blind Citizens NZ’s perspective, a preference for procedures and administrative requirements not to be onerous. Our rationale being that many authorised entities are not large in size or capacity, and imposing onerous administrative requirements would be a disincentive and potentially detract from gains that acceding to the Marrakesh Treaty should bring.

We believe a record keeping system that satisfies the needs of all parties should be speedily achieved for implementation, and we encourage due consideration of this requirement when planning for implementation of the Marrakesh Treaty and Act occurs.
Amendments beyond the minimum required for New Zealand to accede to the Marrakesh Treaty

5.​There is no doubt, as stated in the commentary document, that the collective of amendments create a more cohesive approach to the exception for making accessible format copies. Blind Citizens NZ applauds Government’s approach and exceeding the minimum amendments required for accession to the Marrakesh Treaty.

6.​Blind Citizens NZ unreservedly supports the Exposure Draft: Copyright (Marrakesh Treaty Implementation) Amendment Bill which implements the Marrakesh Treaty.

7.​Every step New Zealand takes towards increasing access to alternate format copies for people with a print disability complements global efforts such as the Right to Read Campaign that supports inclusive publishing initiatives so that materials are born accessible.

8.​We urge Government’s speedy adoption of the Bill and implementation of the Marrakesh Treaty which will:
▪ contribute towards ending the “book famine” that print disabled people continue to experience;
▪ benefit an estimated 168,000 New Zealanders who have a print disability;
▪ expedite the creation and implementation of copyright exceptions;
▪ enable repositories of accessible books to be shared and minimise duplication of effort and cost when more than one organisation in different countries, but sharing the same language, make the same book accessible;
▪ improve timely access for persons with a print disability to access a greater variety of accessible format works leading to greater access to education, employment opportunities, improved health outcomes, and greater autonomy and independence.
About Blind Citizens NZ

Founded in 1945, the Association of Blind Citizens of New Zealand Inc (Blind Citizens NZ) is New Zealand’s leading blindness consumer organisation and one of the country’s largest organisations of disabled consumers. Blind Citizens NZ’s aim is to heighten awareness of the rights of blind and vision impaired people and to remove the barriers that impact upon their ability to live in an accessible, equitable and inclusive society.