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The Updated Disabilities Exception has come into force!

By Chris J Holland, on 3 June 2014

The updated Disabilities Exception to copyright (first mentioned here on 10th April) came into force on 1st June, which is great news. It represents a significant expansion of the permission given to “authorised bodies” to improve the accessibility of copyright works for persons with disabilities. It enables any educational or not for profit organisation to:

  • Produce an accessible copy for a person with any type of disability which causes difficulty in accessing a copyright work.
  • Copy any type of copyright work into an accessible format.

Previously the exception was limited to people with visual impairments and to text based copyright works. By way of example, the updated version enables an educational body to produce a subtitled version of a film or TV broadcast for students with hearing issues, to produce an alternative print format to assist a student with dyslexia or to provide a copy which would be more accessible to a person with mobility issues.

The requirement to check whether there is a licence which would permit the making of the relevant copy has been removed, but the exception only applies to the extent that there is not a copy in the required format available commercially on reasonable terms. There are reporting and record keeping requirements which need to be observed.

Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, New Sections 31A to 31F

Link to JISC piece on the New Exception

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