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People with disabilities

There are separate provisions in the Australian Copyright Act that cover copying material in the most accessible format available for people with a disability. The Act defines a disability as anything causing a person difficulty in reading, viewing, hearing or comprehending content.

Fair dealing for access to copyright material by persons with a disability

This exception allows the copying of material without permission under particular circumstances.

It is intended to provide people with a disability equitable access to material and is suitable for use by individuals.

In order to be considered a fair dealing, the use must meet four fairness factors:

  1. The purpose and character of the dealing:
    Is the purpose of the use to facilitate access and character of use educational and non-commercial?
  2. The nature of the material:
    Is the material unpublished, published in an inaccessible format or currently unavailable due to preparation of a new edition?
  3. The effect on the potential market for the material:
    Is the material commercially available in the format that is most accessible? If so, the fair dealing exception for access by persons with a disability is not appropriate in this instance.
  4. The amount and substantiality of the dealing:
    For disability access, it will often be fair to copy the entire work.

Examples of fair dealing for access by persons with a disability:

  • Making adjustments to the size and colour of graphs, tables, text;
  • Scanning a book for use with assistive technology;
  • Providing audio descriptions.

Use of copyright material by institutions assisting a person with a disability

This provision permits institutions such as Curtin University to make accessible format copies of copyright material to assist a person with a disability.

‘Copyright material’ is defined as ‘anything in which copyright subsists’, which includes literary works and audio visual material.

The provision is subject to a ‘commercial availability test’ to ensure the use does not ‘unreasonably impact on the commercial interest of a copyright holder’.

The University must be satisfied that the material is not commercially available, that is, cannot be obtained in an appropriate format within a reasonable time, and at an ordinary commercial price.

If a commercial copy is available, you are obliged to purchase the copy instead of making the copy under this provision.

You can learn more about these changes in our information graphic.

Contact AccessAbility Services for further assistance and support.