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?
The Italian Law N° 633 of 22 April 1941 “Protection of copyright and other rights related to exercising it” was amended in 2003 by Article 71bis which transposes into Italian legislation the exceptions established by Article 5 of “Directive 2001/29/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 May 2001 on the harmonisation of certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the information society”. The above Article states: “The reproduction and use of works and materials protected by copyright as well as the use for communication to the public are allowed to persons with specific disabilities provided that they are directly related to their disability, they are of a non-commercial nature and limited to the requirements of the specific disability."
There are a few exceptions and limitations to the protection of technological protection measures (TPM), even if their extent is very limited, and their utility is questionable. Specifically, the Italian implementation says that:
'rights holders are required to adopt suitable solutions and agreements, to allow people and institutions to obtain the exceptions they are entitled to (for example, to allow visually impaired people to reproduce a protected e-book using a different format, in order to process it with a speech synthesiser).'
Nobody, however, is allowed to circumvent TPMs, even if they forbid, for example, making a private copy.
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?)
People with visual impairment are allowed to scan printed materials provided that it is for their personal use only.
Although there is no specific regulation concerning sharing of books in accessible formats, a strict interpretation of the current legislation seems not to allow this practice.
5. Are there special copyright provisions regarding accessible text books and other educational material?
According to Article 5 of Law N° 4 of 9 January 2004 “Measures to promote the access to computer tools by person with disabilities”, training and teaching materials at any educational level must be accessible. The availability of digital copies of fundamental teaching materials accessible to students with disabilities and support teachers must be ensured in the contractual agreements stipulated between the Ministry for Education and publishers associations concerning the provision of text books to school libraries. Text books in digital format are obviously included. Specific administrative measures provide for the establishment of the relevant implementation rules and technical guidelines.