July 11, 2017
The European Parliament says that people who are blind or visually impaired will have access to more books, newspapers, magazines and other print material in formats like Braille, audiobooks and large print with the introduction of the new rules, which it approved last week.
The new rules provide:
- copyright exceptions: blind people and their organisations will no longer need to ask permission from the holder of copyright to make accessible format books and other print material;
- improved cross-border circulation: blind people will have access to more special format books from EU and non-EU countries that have signed the Marrakesh Treaty; and
- optional compensation: Member States will have the option of setting up limited compensation schemes for publishers when their books are adapted into accessible format copies.
The new rules will bring the EU’s laws into line with its international commitments under the Marrakesh Treaty, signed by the EU in 2014.
The Resolution providing for copyright exceptions of accessible format copies was approved by 609 votes to 22, with one abstention. The Resolution on the cross-border exchange of these works was approved by 610 votes to 21, with one abstention.
The draft law still needs to be formally approved by the EU Council of Ministers. Member states will have twelve months from the date of entry into force of the new legislation to apply the new rules. To read the European Parliament’s press release in full, click here.