European Commission copyright consultation/Disabilities

Research European Commission copyright consultation
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The European Commission is considering modernizing European copyright laws. To get feedback and input on this modernization, the Commission has published a series of questions, and is looking to interested stakeholders (like our community) to answer them. This is a vital opportunity to participate in a dialogue that could have a major impact on copyright laws and the future of the free knowledge movement. More background is available from the European Commission.

We would like to prepare a draft response here, as a collaborative experiment. If we wish to respond, it will need to be finalized before the end of January 2014 (see the proposed timeline).

Welcome to the discussion! Please help by answering the questions below.

Disabilities edit

Directive 2001/29/EC[1] provides for an exception/limitation for the benefit of people with a disability. The open formulation of this (optional) provision allows for rather different implementations at Member States level. At EU and international level projects have been launched to increase the accessibility of works and other subject-matter for persons with disabilities (notably by increasing the number of works published in special formats and facilitating their distribution across the European Union) [2].

The Marrakesh Treaty[3] has been adopted to facilitate access to published works for persons who are blind, visually impaired, or otherwise print disabled. The Treaty creates a mandatory exception to copyright that allows organisations for the blind to produce, distribute and make available accessible format copies to visually impaired persons without the authorisation of the rightholders. The EU and its Member States have started work to sign and ratify the Treaty. This may require the adoption of certain provisions at EU level (e.g. to ensure the possibility to exchange accessible format copies across borders).

Question 50 edit

50) (a) [In particular if you are a person with a [ disability] or an organisation representing persons with disabilities:] Have you experienced problems with accessibility to content, including across borders, arising from Member States’ implementation of this exception?

(b) [In particular if you are an organisation providing services for persons with disabilities:] Have you experienced problems when distributing/communicating works published in special formats across the EU?

(c) [In particular if you are a right holder:] Have you experienced specific problems resulting from the application of limitations or exceptions allowing for the distribution/communication of works published in special formats, including across borders?

Yes edit

  • Your name here

No edit

  • Your name here

No opinion edit

  • Your name here

Comments edit

Instructions: If yes, please explain by giving examples.

  • ...
  • I'll just note that we as authors and Wikimedia organisations fall under (b), because we offer works that can be freely reused by people with disabilities or people helping them, and because we directly provide ourselves e.g. spoken versions of some works, though a minuscule proportion of the total. --Nemo 15:07, 28 February 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Question 51 edit

51) If there are problems, what could be done to improve accessibility?

Responses edit

[Open question]

  • Publishers should be encourage to distribute specific versions of their works for the disabled. If they don't do so after a few months, doing those adaptations should be free. --NaBUru38 (talk) 14:37, 11 January 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • ...

Question 52 edit

52) What mechanisms exist in the market place to facilitate accessibility to content? How successful are they?

Responses edit

[Open question]

  • ...

References edit

  1. Article 5 (3)b of Directive 2001/29.
  2. The European Trusted Intermediaries Network (ETIN) resulting from a Memorandum of Understanding between representatives of the right-holder community (publishers, authors, collecting societies) and interested parties such as associations for blind and dyslexic persons ( and the Trusted Intermediary Global Accessible Resources (TIGAR) project in WIPO (
  3. Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works by Visually Impaired Persons and Persons with Print Disabilities, Marrakesh, June 17 to 28 2013.