The principles of the disability exception to copyright
The laws and regulations in force
The scope of the exception
The exception to copyright concerns all works of the spirit : literary, musical, cinematographic, audiovisual works, works of fine art (paintings, sculptures, architectural works, applied arts), etc. where they are protected by copyright. The provisions concerning access to digital files of works concern digital books and printed works.
Law no. 2016-925 of 7 July 2016 on freedom of creation, architecture and heritage has expanded the scope of the beneficiaries of the exception. Any person suffering from one or more impairments of motor, physical, sensory, mental, cognitive or psychic functions may be given an adapted version of a work, if the author or the assigns-do not make this work available to the public in a form that meets its needs. This definition makes it possible to take into account the needs of “dys” audiences, that is, those with cognitive and learning disabilities such as dyslexia, dysphasia, dyscalculia and dyspraxia.
This definition also takes into account the Existing perspectives on natively accessible publishing ', particularly as regards digital publishing. For the simplest works, it is to be expected that works placed on the market in digital form will increasingly present accessibility features that meet certain needs of people with disabilities. Once such a version is commercially available, registered organizations will not be able to benefit from the copyright exception to produce or communicate an adapted version of the work meeting the same needs.
Both levels of empowerment for organizations
There are two categories of authorisation for organizations wishing to produce and communicate adapted documents under the exception:
- The registration on the list of organisations benefiting from the exception to copyright for persons with disabilities. Registered bodies are authorized to produce or communicate adapted documents to persons with disabilities under the conditions defined by law. To be registered, the organization must provide proof of its actual professional activity of designing, producing or communicating adapted documents for the benefit of persons with disabilities. Registration is valid for 5 years.
- The approval with a view to requesting the provision of digital files of works: the approved bodies may have access to the digital files used for the publication of works, which are deposited by the publishers, at their request, on the PLATON platform managed by the Bibliothèque nationale de France. Only registered bodies may apply for such approval. To obtain it, they must justify the conditions of preservation, adaptation and communication of files and the means of securing and confidentiality of these various activities.
The list of organisations benefiting from the exception to copyright in favour of disabled persons is drawn up, on the proposal of a committee ad hocby an order signed jointly by the minister responsible for culture and the minister responsible for persons with disabilities. This order is published in the Official Journal of the French Republic. Permission to access digital files of works is granted by the same procedure.
Sharing of adapted documents
In order to improve the efficiency of adaptation work and to increase the volume of documents available to meet the needs of persons with disabilities, the law provides two means of mutualisation documents adapted under the copyright exception:
- registered organizations may exchange between them the documents they have adapted ;
- registered organizations are required to deposit the documents they have adapted in digital form on the Platon platform of the National Library of France, which makes them available to all organizations.
This mandatory filing applies to all adapted documents in digital form, as soon as they are made available. The BnF selects the files it keeps according to their technical characteristics, the costs of their preservation and their use.
Communication of digital files of works
Bodies approved for this purpose may request that the digital file used to publish a work or deposited by its publisher on the Platon platform of the Bibliothèque nationale de France. These requests may concern:
- Digital files of any printed work whose legal deposit is after August 4, 2006, and whose application is made within ten years of the date of the legal deposit.
- Any work published in the form of an e-book, regardless of its publication date.
Les digital files of school books published in print or digital form as of 1er January 2016 are systematically deposited by publishers as soon as they are published, and are therefore immediately available to organizations requesting them. For other printed works, the files must be provided by the publishers within 45 days of the request.
Publishers must file these files in a format that facilitates adaptation work. The list of these formats will be specified in a decree of the Ministry of Culture and Communication, after the opinion of the National Library of France, accredited organizations, representative organizations of copyright holders and disabled persons concerned.
Digital files used to publish works must be destroyed by the transcribers once their adaptation work has been completed, but they are kept at the Bibliothèque nationale de France without any date limitation.
Monitoring the implementation of the exception
The National Library of France gives the relevant ministers an annual report It is intended to give an account of its various activities: deposit and transmission of the digital files used to publish printed works on the one hand, selection and preservation of the adapted documents in digital form on the other. It is published jointly on the BnF website and on the Ministry of Culture website.