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Changes to copyright law to kick-start global information exchange for print disability community

15 June 2017

Disability advocates are celebrating the passage of the Copyright Amendment (Disability Access and Other Measures) Bill.

Vision Australia General Manager for Advocacy, Karen Knight advised that the Bill knocks down the last few barriers that have been blocking the Marrakesh Treaty from being implemented effectively in Australia.

“Currently, only five per cent of books worldwide are converted into accessible formats. Lack of information negatively impacts on the ability of a person with print disability to access education, employment and inclusion outcomes,” Ms Knight said.

“The Treaty allows organisations that represent print disability communities, in ratified countries, to make accessible copies of works without having to ask permission from the rights-holders. It also permits the cross-border exchange of accessible format books both between organisations and directly from an organisation to an individual.”

The proposed changes in the Bill will streamline and simplify the existing disability framework in the Act and reinforce the point that converting materials into an alternative format is based on the needs of the individual.

Vision Australia considers the distinction of individuality essential as it allows for materials to be reproduced with greater accessibility than those commercially available which often lack navigation tools.

“The changes will mean we can legitimately reproduce a title into a structured audio file. As an example, this would give a student convenient access to the pages and section headings they actually need to read and learn, but they wouldn’t need to read the text book from cover to cover,” Ms Knight concluded.

 

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