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Students with print disabilities

Provisions in the Australian Copyright Act that relate to copying for students with a disability have changed substantially in June 2017. These changes will not take effect until 22 December 2017. You can learn more about these changes in our information graphic. This page will be updated with the new changes in early 2018.

As a recognised print disability organisation Curtin University is authorised to create a master copy of a literary or dramatic work in order to produce versions suitable for print disabled students. A master copy can be made of up to a whole work provided that:

  • it is used only to produce copies for persons with a print disability,
  • it is not sold for a profit and
  • within three months of making the copy a notice is given to Copyright Agency Ltd (CAL) specifying the University’s name, the work and the date. This enables CAL to include the publication in their catalogue of master copies.

A master copy (and subsequent copies) can be made in any of the following formats for the benefit of print disabled students:

  • a sound recording,
  • hard copy (including Braille and large print) and
  • electronic or digital copies.

The master copy can be kept, thus saving time and sometimes high production costs in its creation. The Copyright Act allows the University to make further copies of a master – for example, if a master copy is required in a different format, or using different software.

Catalogue of master copies

The catalogue of master copies maintained by CAL is available only to Part VB licensees such as Curtin University. If an academic staff member requires a work in an alternate format for a student with a print disability, the catalogue may be searched to see if any other institutions have made a master copy of that work.

A master copy which is not reported to CAL is not a licensed copy, and therefore infringes copyright. It is imperative that all master copies be reported. Curtin University Disability Services should be consulted about any master copies which are to be made under these provisions of the Copyright Act.

Subsequent copies

A master copy can subsequently be used to make and communicate copies of a work in any accessible format provided that:

  • the copy is only made available to a Curtin student with a print disability.
  • the University satisfies itself, after reasonable investigation, that the material is not commercially available in a similar format within a reasonable time.

The University must take precautions to ensure that the copy is restricted to students with a print disability. The copy can be communicated by email or made available on a secure server or website.

Curtin University Library may be able to assist with your enquiries as to whether a particular work is commercially available in a suitable format.

Labelling requirements

Both the master copy and any subsequent copies must be marked as prescribed by the Copyright Act. This must include:

  • the name of the University making the copy.
  • a reference that the copy was made under s.135ZQ of the Copyright Act 1968.
  • the date the copy was made.

A sample notice is shown below:

Title of Work:
Date on which copy was made:
This copy must not be used for any purpose other than to assist a person with a print disability. Copies must not be sold or supplied for financial profit, nor must they be sold or given to an institution that does not have a remuneration notice in force with Copyright Agency Limited (CAL).
This copy was made by or on behalf of Curtin University of Technology in accordance with Section 135ZQ of the Copyright Act 1968.

Arrangements with other organisations

If another print disability organisation has made a master copy, you can request the organisation to make a copy for use at Curtin. Similarly, if another organisation asks you for a copy of one of Curtin’s master copies, you can make and communicate it to that organisation, as long as it is made solely to assist people with a print disability and is not sold for a profit.

Some publishers may be willing to provide digital versions of a publication for exclusive use by print disabled students. Unfortunately, however, the digital versions supplied by publishers are not always in a format compatible with the ICT equipment and software to which students have access at Curtin. If you request a digital file from a publisher, you may be bound by an agreement with the publisher about how the material will be used. The Australian Copyright Council has prepared sample agreements for use between publishers and print disability organisations.

Use of the Statutory Licences for students with print disabilities

Curtin staff can make copyright teaching materials available to print disabled students under the terms of its Part VA and VB Statutory Licences, just as it does for other Curtin students.

Under Part VB licence provisions, the University is allowed to copy and communicate up to a whole book for the benefit of a student with a print disability instead of complying with the standard copying limit of 10% of the book or one chapter.

Audiovisual material other than broadcasts (such as commercial videos) cannot be copied or communicated for any category of student without permission of the copyright holder.