Copyright - relax, you are covered!
It's a question we get asked about at Dolphin all the time. "Providing accessible learning resources is a fantastic idea, and will make the world of difference to our learners with dyslexia. But am I actually allowed to make accessible versions? Doesn't this infringe copyright?"
In this article, Dolphin's Education Consultant Sarah Smye-Rumsby explains about the Copyright Licensing Agency's copyright exemption and gives you a categorical YES.
Providing accessible versions of learning materials makes the world of difference to learners with dyslexia. But confusion over copyright is just one of the barriers which school leaders are unsure about when it comes to accessibility.
But here's the thing; you might not know this, but as schools and education authorities in the UK holdCopyright Licensing Agency (CLA) School's Licences, you already have copyright exemption to provide accessible versions of copyrighted materials for students with visual impairments or dyslexia.
Why would you want to make copyrighted materials accessible?
For learners with dyslexia or a visual impairment, printed versions of learning resources are inaccessible. So in order to provide an educational experience which is accessible to all your learners, you need to provide learning resources in a format which is accessible to each student. For example, a student with dyslexia or a visual impairment might want an accessible Microsoft Word version of a textbook chapter so it can be read out loud using assistive technology. Or perhaps a learner with dyslexia would prefer an audio version of the chapter, such as MP3 or DAISY talking book? Alternatively, a learner with a visual impairment might want to read a large print or Braille version of the textbook chapter.
For more information on alternative formats, visit AltFormat.org
For information about how to create accessible versions of learning resources, read Dolphin's article for tips on making your existing learning resources accessible.
Have you got your CLA School's Licence?
As a school, it is highly likely that you already have a CLA School's licence to enable you to make photocopies of learning resources for all your students. As part of this licence, you are also permitted to make accessible versions of copyrighted materials for staff and students with dyslexia (so long as you have a lawful possession of the work, and an accessible version is not commercially available).
The guidelines for the CLA School's Licence state that accessible versions of materials can be made for anyone disabled resulting in them being unable to read or access copyrighted materials:
If a pupil, teacher or other person authorised by the CLA Schools Licence to make and/or receive copies is visually impaired or otherwise disabled resulting in them being unable to read or access copies made under the Licence you may make and supply a copy of part or the whole of any work covered by the Licence in any alternative format. Examples of alternative formats would include digital or audio, large or small print. To do this, your school must have lawful possession of a copy of the respective work, which should not already be commercially available in an equivalent, accessible format."
Do I need a specific 'Print Disability' licence as well?
The CLA also offer a 'Print Disability' license which provides specific copyright exemption for creating accessible versions of reading materials for people with dyslexia. However, the Print Disability (PD) licence guidelines state that if you already have a School's Licence, you do not need the PD licence as well:
If your organisation makes accessible copies only for the use of its own staff and students, and doesn't lend or distribute them to others, you do not need a full CLA PD Licence. The making of accessible copies for your staff and students will be covered by an extension to the existing CLA photocopying licence held by your school or local authority. The same principles, in terms of what may be copied and checking for the availability of suitable commercial editions, apply; but you do not need to submit a report every 1 May of accessible copies made. You should, however, ensure that these copies are recorded in any CLA survey or record-keeping exercise."
What are you waiting for? Make it accessible!
The Copyright Licensing Agency have built exemptions into their licences to ensure that you can make accessible versions of inaccessible resources. Contrary to popular belief, copyright does not need to be a barrier to accessibility, so if you have a student with a visual impairment, or dyslexia, you are empowered to provide them an accessible version.