United Kingdom - Article 30

Copyright

Does your national copyright legislation contain exceptions and other special provisions for people with visual impairment?
Do these exceptions allow for making copy of a book without the publisher's permission?
Do these exceptions allow for scanning books (in particular is an individual with visual impairment allowed to scan a book for him/herself, or does a special organization have to do it?)
Do these exceptions allow for sharing books produced on accessible formats? (in particular is an individual with visual impairment allowed to share with friends books he/she scanned?)
Are there special copyright provisions regarding accessible text books and other educational material?

 

1. Does your national copyright legislation contain exceptions and other special provisions for people with visual impairment?

Yes. The Copyright (Visually Impaired Persons) Act 2002, which came into force on 31 October, 2003, amends the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. Its purpose was to remove the key difficulty experienced by those of us seeking to make information accessible - the need to seek prior permission and the resulting delay - whilst preserving the legitimate rights of authors and others. Thus the Act introduces exceptions to copyright law which, in general terms, remove the need for anyone to obtain permission from the rights holder to produce an "accessible copy".

The full text of the law is available here
http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts2002/ukpga_20020033_en_1

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2. Do these exceptions allow for making copy of a book without the publisher's permission?

There are two parts to the Act:

  • one-for-one copies
  • multiple copies.

 

One-for-one copies

 

If you are visually impaired, you can make, or ask anyone to make for you, a single accessible copy of anything of which you have "lawful possession" or "lawful use".
This can cover anything that you have bought, been given or lent, or that is held in a library that you are eligible to use. It covers material published commercially but also other material made public, such as dissertations lodged in a library. Once you have got your accessible copy, you can pass it to others who qualify as "visually impaired", to the same extent that you would be able to do with the print copy, as long as you pass the print copy with it.
Equally, you can pass original and accessible version back to a librarian or teacher, who could later issue them to another eligible person.
The governing principle is that the original print copy remains with any accessible versions, so that only one person can "read" the work at any one time, as with print.
Obligations and limitations with "one-for-one" copying
The right does not apply if an equivalent accessible copy is already available commercially.
The accessible copy must carry "sufficient acknowledgement" of its source, such as title, author, and edition.
It must carry wording to indicate that it has been created under the terms of Section 31A of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 as amended by the Copyright (Visually Impaired Persons) Act 2002.

Multiple copies

Multiple (two or more) accessible copies can be made by any not-for-profit body and any educational establishment. The Act refers to these as "approved bodies", but no approval process is required.
Generally, files for producing accessible copies, known as intermediate copies, can be transferred between one approved body and another. However, an educational establishment has, under the Act, to ensure that copies will only be used for its own educational purposes. Licensing schemes can overcome this limitation.
The right covers any "commercially published" item of which the approved body has "lawful possession". Thus they may have bought or borrowed the original. (Note that under this multiple copy exception, the original has to be published commercially, whereas for the personal use exception, the original has only to be "a work" or "published").

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3. Do these exceptions allow for scanning books (in particular is an individual with visual impairment allowed to scan a book for him/herself, or does a special organization have to do it?)

It is possible to scan books without bureaucratic involvement.

Electronic copies may be created and stored on a computer system for as long as required to enable personal use of the work while the original is retained. It may not however be made accessible and then passed onto a third party or posted on an intranet or on the Web.

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4. Do these exceptions allow for sharing books produced on accessible formats? (in particular is an individual with visual impairment allowed to share with friends books he/she scanned?)

Once you have got your accessible copy, you can pass it to others who qualify as "visually impaired", to the same extent that you would be able to do with the print copy, as long as you pass the print copy with it. Equally, you can pass original and accessible version back to a librarian or teacher, who could later issue them to another eligible person.
The governing principle is that the original print copy remains with any accessible versions, so that only one person can "read" the work at any one time, as with print.

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5. Are there special copyright provisions regarding accessible text books and other educational material?

No.

Licensing schemes

The Act allows for licensing schemes, drawn up by rights holder groups. Such schemes may enhance the Act's provisions in respect of the production of multiple copies, but cannot detract from the basic rights conferred in the Act. If a licensing scheme exists covering the type of material or the formats involved, a licence must be taken out and its terms must be complied with.

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Source http://www.dur.ac.uk/library/disabled/services/copyright/
With thanks to Dan Pescod of the RNIB.