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Five minutes to make a difference


Why it matters: …

Why it matters:

Changes to copyright law can make a big difference to your everyday work in getting accessible resources for disabled learners. Whether you are a librarian or disability support specialist and whether you work in HE, FE, Independent Specialist Colleges or Schools this is an opportunity to ensure the human rights of your learners are not trumped by intellectual property rights. The Intellectual Property Office is consulting until 21st March 2012. We’re keen to get hundreds of responses from learning providers by then.

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  • 1. Five minutes to make a differenceWhy it matters:Changes to copyright law can make a big difference to your everyday work in gettingaccessible resources for disabled learners. Whether you are a librarian or disabilitysupport specialist and whether you work in HE, FE, Independent Specialist Colleges orSchools this is an opportunity to ensure the human rights of your learners are nottrumped by intellectual property rights. The Intellectual Property Office is consulting until21st March 2012. We’re keen to get hundreds of responses from learning providers bythen.How long will it take and how will I work out whatto do or say?If you go for the minimum (infinitely better than doing nothing) it will take some 5 minutesto fill in the consultation form. Add another 5 minutes and you can have a personalisedresponse with hard evidence – this holds even more weight. We’ve made it easy bygoing through the very long document and and picking out 5 key questions that impact onaccessibility. We’ve focused on these 5 questions and given you: • a brief plain English sentence about the question’s relevance to your learners • a recommendation about the kinds of point to make in response.If you’ve only got 5 minutes, copy and paste the response into the form. Many questionsask for evidence and you have it richly – for example how many dyslexic learners do youhave? How many Alternative Format requests do you do? How long does it take? Howmuch does it cost. What would make life easier? Add some of this detail and it will take afew more minutes but be really valuable.Start hereGo to the website and start filling in the formGo to the IPO website and click on the linkto “Consultation response form” – the second link on the page. Alternatively go directly tothe document at 1
  • 2. Figure 1 - image of IPO website page for the copyright consultation with response form highlighted.Fill in your details at the start of the document (screenshot below). Then skip the next 76questions!Figure 2 - screen shot of personal and organisational details questionKey question - Letting disabled people benefit from new technologiesScroll down to question 77 – screenshot below.What it’s about: Text and data mining tools intelligently summarise documents, pick outkey ideas etc. It can summarise and extract key bits from books etc. Somestakeholders are wary of this and want to limit it to noncommercial research only.Suggested comments: Any exception should not be limited to non commercialresearch but should also include accessibility. Benefits might includesummarising document sections for people with literacy difficulties,retrofitting accessible navigation to unstructured documents etc. 2
  • 3. Key question - Enabling more people to benefit from these exceptionsScroll down to question 90 – screenshot below.What it’s about: Currently copyright law allows certain “exceptions” – eg visuallyimpaired people are exempt from certain copyright restrictions that would apply to otherpeople. Unfortunately the law is messy and fragmented with clear provision for somedisabilities but not others.Suggested comments: The definition of disability should be amended to bring it into linewith the definition of disability in the Equality Act 2010. Section 20 Clause 6 of the Actrequires information to be provided in an accessible format. This will put all print disabledlearners on an equal legal footing.Consider adding: any examples from your experience of the time and cost of makingresources available in alternative formats. Any inconsistencies in practice created byfuzzy laws. See appendix 1 for statistics on the unfairness of a system biased towardsone particular disability.Key question - Applying these exceptions to more types of workScroll down to question 91 – screenshot belowWhat it’s about: Disability exemptions in copyright law currently cover text but not video,podcasts etc. And even though text is covered it is covered very narrowly and lots ofthings that are essential to good teaching aren’t strictly legal – like simplifying languagefor a deaf person or adding structural navigation for a blind person.Suggested comments: Copyright exemptions should allow for ‘specialised formats’where accessibility value is added via navigation, format shifting etc but the content andtasks remain the same. Copyright exemptions should also allow alternative materials forthose who cannot use specialised formats. This might include an Easy Read version,modified sentence structure or symbol support. Copyright exemptions should apply tovideo and podcasts so that subtitling, audio descriptions, transcripts, summaries etccan be legitimately created and shared for the support of disabled learners. 3
  • 4. Consider adding: any information about the kinds oftransformations that are needed to support your learners. Describe the time or costsinvolved and thebenefits of being able to share such modified products with other organisations. Seeappendix 2 for more detailed arguments on licensing arangements that you may wish toadd.Key question – Licensing schemesScroll down to question 92 – screenshot belowWhat it’s about: Current arrangements make artificial distinctions between the variousgroups of disbaled people and licenses different exceptions in different ways.Suggested comments: We support the statement that: “the Government proposes toremove the ability to license these exceptions. It believes the benefits of doing so willoutweigh the costs”. A consistent system is required that builds on the Equality Actdefinition of disabled people and that is consistent with Section 20 Clause 6 onaccessible formats.Removing unnecessary bureaucracy – subtitling of broadcastsScroll down to question 93 - screenshot below.What it’s about: Currently, learning providers are not legally entitled to add subtitles tobroadcasts unless they apply for a Statutory Order!Suggested comments: the government should remove the requirement that bodies thatare permitted to subtitle broadcasts have to be designated by statutory order.ConclusionThat’s it! If you’ve added some of the above points to the consultation we’re delighted.Please note that this has been designed to be a ‘quick start guide’ to the consultation.Although we focused on these particular parts of the consultation other parts may berelevant to your consituencies if you have more time to give to this, particularly section7 and section 4.Appendix 1The report Books for All identified that 3.8 times as many school pupilshave a physical disability than are visually impaired, 14 times have a 4
  • 5. physical disability and 20 times have dyslexia. Accessiblecopies are provided currently only for pupils who are visually impaired. this majorinvestigation went on to note the significant cost benefits to the public purse by nothaving multiple people making accessible versions of the same books.Appendix 2The licensing provisions in the CDPA for the provision of specialised formats andalternative materials should be amended to provide: A. That these works can be produced if no licensing scheme exists B. Where a licensing scheme exists, publishers must either choose to enter the scheme or leave users with the right under the exception to make works available in specialised formats and alternative materials. i.e. publishers may not opt out of the licensing scheme and produce their own specialised/accessible works. C. As a condition of the licence an obligation should be placed on the licensor to keep and make freely available a listing containing details of all works that have been made available in specialised formats and alternative materials for consultation by third parties. The licensor should also be under an obligation to develop and implement an information awareness campaign to ensure that the terms of the legislation as it relates to disability and the disabled is properly understood such that the Government can better fulfil its obligations the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in particular in Articles 21 and 30.Acknowledgements:This guide has been assembled by Alistair McNaught of JISC TechDis.We are deeplyindebted to the expertise and generosity of the following contributors:Dr Stuart Aitken, University of Edinburgh; Professor Charlotte Waelde, University ofExeter; Ralph Weedon, JISC Legal. 5