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Copying for visually impaired and disabled readers

Copying for students and staff with disabilities

In June 2014 a significant amendment to the 1988 Copyright, Designs and Patents Act (CDPA) came into force in UK law which has a major impact on copying for persons with disabilities.

Previously, the law only allowed copying to make accessible copies for the visually impaired. Other disabilities such as dyslexia were not covered. Now all disabilities are covered. The types of works covered has also been extended and now covers all formats including film, broadcast, video and sound recordings. This means, for example, that it will now be possible for the University to subtitle works for a disabled student. The University must own a copy of the material from which the accessible copy is being made and an accessible copy can only be made if an accessible copy is not available commercially at a reasonable cost.


 Copying for staff and students with  disabilities under the Copyright Licenceing Agency (CLA) Licence

The University holds a Higher Education CLA licence  which allows an accessible copy of a copyright protected work to be made for staff and students of the University with "any kind of visual, cognitive or other disability recognised in the Disability Discrimination Act". It is limited to Authorised Persons and Licensed Materials as defined by the main CLA licence. 

Under the terms of the CLA licence copying for visually impaired or disabled persons the following conditions must be met.

  • The University must own an original copy of the published edition.
  • The accessible copy must only be used for members of the University who are covered by the licence.
  • The work must not be available to purchase in an accessible format.
  • The accessible copy may be in digital or audio format, large or small print, embossed copies or in any format that suits the needs or disability of the user.
  • Type size enlargement/reduction, alternative fonts, colour adjustments (font or background), web navigational tools, and other techniques designed to make content more accessible to specific users is permitted.
  • Each accessible copy which exceeds the limits set out in the basic CLA licence (more than 1 chapter/1 article or less that 5% whichever is greater) must contain a set statement."This copy is made under the terms of the CLA VIP Licence to be used only by a visually impaired or disabled person. Except as permitted by law, it may not be further copied (including any electronic copying or transmission), nor may it be supplied to any other person, without permission". It should also include the title, author and publisher of the original work and the published edition from which it was copied.

Any charge for the supply of an accessible copy must not exceed the cost of making and supplying it. Accessible copies do not need to be included on the Digital Copy Record Sheet. 

 The Library offers additional services to support persons with disabilities. Information on these services can be found by clicking on this link .


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