Table of Contents

Research Handbook on Human Rights and Intellectual Property

Research Handbook on Human Rights and Intellectual Property

Research Handbooks in Intellectual Property series

Edited by Christophe Geiger

Research Handbook on Human Rights and Intellectual Property is a comprehensive reference work on the intersection of human rights and intellectual property law. Resulting from a field-specific expertise of over 40 scholars and professionals of world renown, the book explores the practical and doctrinal implications of human rights on intellectual property law and jurisprudence. In particular, the chapters scrutinize issues related to interactions among and between norms of different legal families, the role of human rights in development of the balanced intellectual property legal framework, standing case-law of national and regional courts and intellectual property offices reconciling overlapping rights and obligations, and identify the practical significance of different human rights for the exercise of intellectual property rights.

Chapter 31: Human rights, persons with disabilities and copyright

Abbe Brown and Charlotte Waelde

Subjects: law - academic, human rights, intellectual property law


Human rights, copyright, and disability: individually each of these systems has something to say about culture, cultural activity and access to culture. Collectively, what do they say about access to, and participation in, culture by persons with disabilities? And what does this suggest for the wider relationship between intellectual property (IP), human rights and other legal fields? At international policy-making level, disability and human rights converged from 1994, and copyright and human rights in 2005 (or depending on the perspective taken, from 1966). It was only however in 2013 that copyright, human rights and disability came together in a potentially meaningful way in a measure dealing with access to cultural works. This was in a Treaty concluded under the auspices of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). The Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired, or Otherwise Print Disabled (Marrakesh Treaty) facilitates the making available of literary and artistic works to people with visual impairments. The political, legal, economic and social challenges faced by the negotiators of this Treaty echo those that have characterised disability, copyright and human rights for many years, and have also been intensified because of the bringing together of the often opposing interests from the three domains.

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