Persons who are blind, visually impaired or otherwise print disabled continue to face many barriers in accessing books and other print material which are protected by copyright and related rights. Taking into consideration the social interests of granting such persons the right of access to information and the right to participate in cultural, economic and social life on an equal basis with others, measures need to be taken to increase the availability of those works in accessible formats and to improve their circulation in the internal market, within the conditions set forth in this Directive, in order to ensure access to knowledge and information.
The exercise of the exceptions provided for by this Directive should be without prejudice to other exceptions for persons with disabilities provided for by the Member States. It is also necessary for the mandatory exception to limit the right of reproduction so as to allow for any act that is necessary in order to make changes to or convert or adapt a work or other subject-matter in such a way as to produce an accessible format copy. This includes providing the necessary means to navigate information in an accessible format copy, and includes also the acts that are necessary to adapt existing publications that are already accessible for certain categories of beneficiary persons to the needs of other beneficiary persons who require alternative formats to properly access the work. Lending of the work to beneficiary persons should be permitted.
The exception should allow authorised entities to make and disseminate online and offline within the Union accessible format copies of works or other subject-matter covered by this Directive, in line with relevant existing Union laws. The Directive does not establish any obligation on authorised entities to make and disseminate copies.
When the market is unable to provide access, the rightholders’ role in making their works accessible to persons with visual impairments or with other print disabilities is just as important as the exceptions provided for by this Directive when it comes to improving the availability of text-based works.
In order to foster exchange between Member States, a single publicly accessible online database should be established and managed by the European Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) containing information on authorised entities and bibliographic data about works in accessible format copies that are produced and made available by authorised entities.
This database should also include information about born accessible publications, i.e. publications produced by publishers in accessible format, and should be interoperable with the ABC TIGAR (Trusted Intermediary Global Accessible Resources) database, hosted by the WIPO.
In view of the specific nature of the exception, its targeted scope and the need for legal certainty for its beneficiaries, Member States should not be allowed to impose additional requirements for the application of the exception, such as compensation schemes or the prior verification of the commercial availability of accessible format copies. Such additional requirements would run the risk of going against the purpose of the exceptions provided for by this Directive, and against the purpose of facilitating the cross-border exchange of special format copies within the internal market.
Changes to the scope of this Directive may be considered, if necessary, in accordance with the report presented by the Commission under Article 7 of this Directive, preceded by a feasibility study on the introduction of other similar exceptions for persons with other types of disabilities.
Member States shall ensure that the exceptions provided for in paragraph 1 cannot be overridden by contract. Regarding the relationship between the exception provided for in paragraph 1 of this Article and technical protection measures, the first, third and fifth subparagraphs of Article 6(4) of Directive 2001/29/EC shall apply. Member States shall ensure that complaints and redress mechanisms are put in place in case of disputes concerning the application of the measures referred to in this Article.
By two years after the date of transposition, the Commission shall present a report to the European Parliament, the Council and the European Economic and Social Committee on the availability, in accessible formats, of works and other subject-matter other than those defined in Article 2(1) for beneficiary persons, and of works and other subject-matter for persons with disabilities other than those referred to in Article 2(2), in the internal market.
The report shall contain an assessment – taking into account technological developments and particularly the technologies available to help people with disabilities, and the accessibility of those technologies – on whether a broadening of the scope of this Directive should be considered, so that the exception and the related making of accessible format copies provided by this Directive may benefit other categories of disabilities.
Amendments are included in the text whether in a form of wording, replacing initial text, or in a form of text, included in initial draft.