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Copyright Queries



The Updated Disabilities Exception has come into force!

By ucylcjh, 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

Enhanced Disability Exception to Copyright

By ucylcjh, on 10 April 2014

This is one of the more exciting changes included in the updating of exceptions to copyright, which have been proposed by the Government. If all goes to plan it should come into force on 1st June 2014, along with the other changes.  The existing exception (which stands to be replaced) permits the making of accessible copies solely for persons with visual impairments. This allows for example large print copies, conversion into braille and audio versions. Currently there is nothing to  permit copying into a format to assist people with any issues other than visual impairment, such as dyslexia.

The updated version, as published by the IPO, will allow us to make an accessible copy to give a person with any type of disability better access to copyright material. So that if a person with mobility issues would benefit from an accessible copy, we would be allowed to produce that copy for them.

The other major advantage of the new exception is that it now  covers all published copyright works, regardless of the format of the original work. If an accessible version of a film or a sound recording were required then we can now make it.  There are still some checks and record keeping which must be maintained when using the exception but there is little doubt it will be a big improvement. For further information email:  copyright@ucl.ac.uk

Chris Holland, Copyright Support Officer

Link to IPO site