Alternative formats Policy & strategy

Accessible textbooks: jigsaw piece 1/3

The Law got better for disabled learners

The Copyright and Rights in Performances (Disability) Regulations 2014 legislation enshrined a right for HEI’s to share accessible “intermediate copies” of textbooks with one another. jigsawHowever, the lack of definition of “intermediate copy” meant that, in practice, hardly any sharing was taking place for fear of falling foul of publishers. The situation was made worse because several publishers had not yet updated licences so they supplied digital texts for disabled people that included restrictions that were no longer legally enforceable on intermediate copies… but nobody knew exactly what an intermediate copy was!

Since a legal definition of intermediate copy was highly unlikely to be forthcoming Jisc’s Alistair McNaught worked with the Publishers Association Accessibility Action group to establish a pragmatic definition that respected the needs and concerns of both publishers and library/disability staff.

Ably supported by John Kelly – one of Jisc’s legal subject specialists – Helen Gunesekera from RNIB and colleagues in the publishing industry we now have jointly badged guidance available on the Publishers Association website (second link on the page). Or download directly as a PDF. The all important bits are in the appendices where we define Intermediate Copies as part of a value added process rather than a product.

This vital piece of the jigsaw will
stop wasted time and effort…

So now there is a mutual understanding so that intermediate copies of textbooks can be shared between HEIs (and FE colleges too!) under the affordances of the legislation. This vital piece of the jigsaw will stop wasted time/effort of dozens of HEIs scanning the same book (sometimes multiple times for different students) because they’re not sure whether sharing would breach licensing conditions.

The next piece of the jigsaw is in the next posting..

Meanwhile, use the comments box below to tell us whether the appendices in this guidance help in your conversations with publishers and your sharing with colleagues  –  download guidance directly as a PDF.

Alistair McNaught

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