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Law eases print-disabled persons’ access to literary works

11 Nov 2018, 03:31 ( 9 Months ago) | updated: 11 Nov 2018, 12:34 ( 9 Months ago)

DF Report
Photo Finnish parliament by Markku Ulander.

The amended Copyright Act facilitating access to literary works for the visually impaired or otherwise print-disabled persons will enter into force on November 12, said an official press release.

The amendments also ensured that copies of published works in accessible format made for the exclusive use of print-disabled persons will be available in all countries within the European Economic Area.

Parliament approved the bill on 8 November and the president approved the Act next day.

The legislative amendments are based on the EU Directive (the ‘VIP Directive’) on certain permitted uses of certain works protected by copyright for the benefit of persons who are blind, visually impaired or otherwise print-disabled.

Under the amended Act, authorised entities providing services to visually impaired or print-disabled persons will be allowed to make copies of works or other subject matters in formats to which they have lawful access.

The amendment will have the biggest impact on the possibility to make audio books. The directive also enables free movement of accessible format copies within the European Economic Area, which means that print-disabled persons will also be able to obtain works from other EEA countries.

Print-disabled persons should be able to access literary works and images and other subject matters incorporated in them to substantially the same degree as persons without any such impairment or disability. In addition to audio books, accessible formats include Braille, large print and adapted e-books.

Authors continue to have the right to remuneration, if the accessible format copy will permanently remain in the possession of a print-disabled person.

When passing the bill, parliament required in its resolution that the government take action to further amend the Act to make it more technology-neutral and better correspond to the actual usage of works.

The government must closely monitor and assess the impacts of the Act on beneficiary persons and right-holders and submit a report on this to the Education and Culture Committee by spring 2021.

The VIP Directive and Regulation are part of the copyright reform related to the Digital Single Market.