OT -- New Copyright Provisions Adopted in the U.K.

Janina Sajka janina at rednote.net
Fri Nov 8 10:21:37 EST 2002

There's good news for print disabled readers in the U.K. this morning. Persons in the U.S. may recognize this new law in the U.K. is very similar to the
"Chafee Amendement" to U.S. Copyright law (http://www.loc.gov/nls/reference/factsheets/copyright.html).

8 November 2002


Two million people in the UK with visual impairment will benefit from better access to information and literature as Government-supported legislation
received Royal Assent last night.

The Copyright (Visually Impaired Persons) Act 2002 will give people with sight loss easier access to alternative formats of copyright material, such as
large print, Braille and audio. It will bring to an end the often time consuming process whereby visually impaired people, and voluntary bodies acting
on their behalf, must seek permission from copyright owners before making more accessible copies of material.

Consumer Minister Melanie Johnson said:

"In the past visually impaired people have experienced problems in gaining quick and easy access to reading material - such as school textbooks,
instruction manuals, magazines and novels - which most of us take for granted.

"This new legislation will make Braille, large print and audio formats more easily available, and at the same time, maintain the ability of copyright
owners to monitor what is happening to their material."

"I would like to thank Rachel Squire and her sponsors at the RNIB for the part they have played in providing an opportunity to pursue early legislation.
I welcome the real reductions in social exclusion that this Act will deliver.

"I am pleased that organisations representing visually impaired people and copyright owners are continuing to collaborate to make this new legislation a
success in practice. We will be working with them too to develop detailed guidance before the Act comes into force."

Notes to editors

1. The Government consulted on a possible new exception to copyright law for the benefit of visually impaired people from February to May 2001. See

2. The Copyright (Visually Impaired Persons) Act 2002 started in the House of Commons in July 2001 as a private member's bill put forward by Ms Rachel
Squire MP, member for Dunfermline West, with Government support, and was taken through the Lords by Lord Morris of Manchester. It received Royal Assent
on 7th November 2002.

3. The full text of the Act is available from Her Majesty's Stationery Office (see website at <http://www.hmso.gov.uk> http://www.hmso.gov.uk).

4. Final guidance on the provisions in the Act will be issued before an order bringing the legislation into force is made next Spring.

Public Enquiries: 020-7215 5000
Textphone (for people with hearing impairments): 020-7215 6740
 <http://www.dti.gov.uk> http://www.dti.gov.uk

Department of Trade and Industry
1 Victoria Street

				Janina Sajka, Director
				Technology Research and Development
				Governmental Relations Group
				American Foundation for the Blind (AFB)

Email: janina at afb.net		Phone: (202) 408-8175

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