Copyright Licensing for Visually Impaired People

The MPA had developed a licensing scheme under the Copyright (Visually Impaired Persons) Act 2002. The scheme governed multiple copying of printed music for the benefit of visually impaired people by educational and not for profit bodies in place of the Act.

Following changes to the Copyright Designs and Patents Act (CDPA) through the Copyright and Rights in Performances (Disability) Regulations 2014 such a licensing scheme is no longer required if the conditions of Sections 31A CDPA onwards are met. The current CDPA does not provide for such an optional licensing scheme and consequentially it has been removed from the MPA website.

In short, the UK Regulations provide a two pronged approach:

- providing an exception for a disabled person to make copies of works for personal use (Section 31 A CDPA), and

- enabling authorised bodies to make and supply accessible copies both to print impaired persons and other national authorised bodies (Section 31 B CDPA).

It also extended the scope of the works covered by the exception to all works including broadcasts and sound recordings. Contractual overrides of the exception are unenforceable (Section 31F CDPA). The UK exceptions do not apply to works which are commercially available on reasonable terms by or with the authority of the copyright owner.

The Regulations are available: