Copyright changes – Accessibility

JISC legal presented an online webinar on 8 July 2014, focusing on the disability exception in the light of the copyright changes that came into effect on 1 June 2014. (See more information via the links below.)

In general, ‘restricted acts’ under copyright law refer to “copying, adapting, transmitting, disseminating and communicating a work to the public” (JISC seminar). To do any of these things, one must either be the copyright holder, or get permission from the copyright holder, or have permission via a licence such as the CLA or creative commons. If you are going to create an accessible version of a work for a disabled person, then you do not need to request permission, since this need is covered under the disability exception.

The main changes to the disability exception (since 1 June 2014) are the following:

  • It now includes ALL disabilities, not only visual impairment
  • It now includes ALL works, including broadcasts and performances
  • A contract term (such as a publisher’s contract) is now unenforceable if it restricts what you can do under the revised law – this does not give you carte blanche – you must have lawful use or possession of the work to start with and the accessible version must be for disabled persons only.

What hasn’t changed?

  • The exception applies only where you have lawful possession or use of the work to start with
  • Digital Rights Management (DRM)/Technical Protection Measures (TPM) issues are not addressed
  • An accessible copy cannot be made available generally – it is restricted to those who need it
  • An accessible commercial version must be used if available – but now this must be at reasonable cost
  • Reporting and record keeping provisions remain (except for one individual student – in this case you do not need to report or acknowledge at all)

Useful links:

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