New rules on access to books for visually impaired persons

Last week two new EU legislative acts entered into force:

- Directive (EU) 2017/1564 of the European Union on certain permitted uses of certain works and other subject matter protected by copyright and related rights for the benefit of persons who are blind, visually impaired or otherwise print-disabled and

- Regulation (EU) 2017/1563 on the cross-border exchange between the EU and third countries of accessible format copies of these works and other subject matter for the benefit of above-mentioned.

The aim of the Directive and the Regulation is to implement the obligations under the World Intellectual Property Organisation’s (WIPO) Marrakesh Treaty. The Directive and the Regulation introduce into the EU law a new mandatory exception to copyright rules, which to allow beneficiary persons and authorised entities to make copies of works in accessible formats (for example, Braille, audio books, large print) and to disseminate them across the EU and in third countries which are party to the Marrakesh Treaty.

The EU Member States have to transpose the Directive into the national laws by 11 October 2018, but the Regulation shall apply from 12 October 2018.