Assisting people with disabilities

The Copyright Amendment (Disability Access and Other Measures) Act which came into effect on the 22 December 2017 introduced two new exceptions for access by persons with a disability:

These simplified exceptions ensure more equitable access to copyright material for persons with a disability and replace the disability provisions in the educational statutory license (Part VA & VB) and the special case exception (s200AB). 

A person with a disability is defined as a anyone who suffers from a disability that them difficulty in reading, viewing, hearing or comprehending copyright material in a particular form.

Fair dealing for purpose of access by persons with a disability

Copyright material may be used for the purpose of providing an accessible version to a person with a disability. This provision can be relied on by the person with a disability, or a person acting on their behalf.

The dealing must still be deemed to be fair with regard to the following four factor test: 

  • the purpose and character of the dealing;
  • the nature of the copyright material;
  • the effect of the dealing upon the potential market for, or value of, the material; and
  • if only a part of the material is dealth with - the amount and substantiality of the part dealt with, taken in relation to the whole material.

It could cover such acts as making an electronic copy of a physical text which can be read by screenreader software, or adding captions to an audio-visual work.

Use of copyright material by organisations assisting persons with a disability

This exception allows the University to make accessible format copies of material for the sole purpose of assisting a person with a disability. This can only be relied on if the material is not commercially available in the format required.