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?
Article 17 -Reproduction for Visually Handicapped and Hearing Impaired Persons- of Danish Consolidated Act No. 164 of March 12, 2003 on Copyright provides the following:
"(1) It is permitted to use and distribute copies of published works if the use and the distributed copies are specifically intended for the blind, visually impaired, the deaf and sufferers from speech impediments, as well as persons who on account of handicap are unable to read printed text. The provision of the first sentence does not apply to the use or distribution of copies for commercial purposes.
(3) Sound recordings of published literary works may be used and distributed for use by visually impaired persons and backward readers if this is not done for commercial purposes. The author is entitled to remuneration.
(4) Government or municipal institutions and other social or non-profit institutions may, for the use of visually handicapped and hearing-impaired persons, by means of sound or visual recording produce copies of works broadcast on the radio or television, provided the requirements regarding the extended collective license according to section 50 have been met. Such recording may only be used for the purpose of activities covered by the agreement presumed in section 50."
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?)
The provision does not specify who is entitled to undertake the reproduction, provided that this is done with a non-commercial intention.
The exclusive right of authors and other rightsholders to control use of their works is, in the Danish Copyright Act, limited in certain ways for visually and hearing handicapped people as well as for certain other groups.
Limitations to the rightsholders' exclusive right for the benefit of visually impaired people and, in general, handicapped persons were introduced in the Danish Copyright Act of 1961.
Then, the exception only allowed reproduction in Braille as well as photocopying educational use. The law also contained a legal licence for noncommercial talking books.
The provision has undergone certain changes throughout the period. The group of people who can benefit from the provision has been enlarged, and the scope of the exception has been widened.
Significant amendments took place in connection with the adoption of a new Copyright Act in 1995 and further in 1996. Changes were also made in 2002 when Denmark transposed the European Union Directive 2001/29 of 22 May 2001 on the harmonisation of certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the information society. Section 17 of the Consolidated Act on Copyright 2003, does not make any distinction between analogue and digital copies. Consequently, the provision also allows the making of digital copies within its framework. It also specifically encompasses people who are ‘unable to read printed text'.
DBB has been closely connected with recent changes to the Danish copyright law. It is part of the Ministry of Culture which is also responsible for copyright law in Denmark. In anticipation of changes in the law, DBB lobbied to have the ability to produce accessible versions of content for permanent distribution to its members (as opposed to lending).
The Danish Publishers' Association also lobbied, underlining its concerns about the possible misuse of converted formats in electronic form. A working group was established and eventually agreement was reached between DBB and the Publishers' Association whereby the interests of both sides were mutually recognised. The exception included in the revised copyright law was made subject, through this agreement, to a condition that converted content would only be made available to members of DBB or people with proven and documented disabilities.
DBB has not encountered any case where it would have to invoke the provisions of the copyright law due to the inability to access content blocked by technical protection measures. It does not anticipate this would be an issue at the institutional level but can see that there might be an issue for individual users.
5. Are there special copyright provisions regarding accessible text books and other educational material?