Access to copyright works for visually impaired people after Brexit

Cross-border exchanges of accessible format works for visually impaired or otherwise print-disabled people may change.

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The UK is leaving the EU. This page tells you how to prepare for Brexit and will be updated if anything changes.

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The Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled (the Marrakesh Treaty) is an international agreement to improve the access of visually impaired people to copyright works around the world.

The EU is party to the treaty and has implemented it via a directive and a regulation:

  • the directive allows people in the EU with visual impairments and authorised bodies that support them (for example charities) to make or distribute accessible format copies of copyright works.

  • the regulation allows the import and export of such copies between EU member states and other treaty countries.

The UK has implemented the directive via the Copyright and Related Rights (Marrakesh Treaty etc.) (Amendment) Regulations 2018.

The Marrakesh Treaty after Brexit

The regulation and the UK’s implementation of the directive will be retained in UK law.

In the UK, people with visual impairment or authorised bodies will still be able to make and distribute accessible format copies of copyright works. However, the cross-border exchange of accessible format copies of works may be affected.

Actions for people with visual impairments and authorised bodies

The UK is party to the Treaty through its membership of the EU. The government is on track to ratify the treaty in its own right after Brexit. Until this happens, people with visual impairments and authorised bodies may need to get permission of the relevant right holders in other Treaty countries to transfer accessible format copies between the UK and those countries.

Published 18 October 2019