Access to copyright works for visually impaired people from 1 January 2021

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

The UK has left the EU

This page tells you what you'll need to do from 1 January 2021. It'll be updated if anything changes.

You can also read about the transition period.

The Marrakesh Treaty to facilitate access to published works for persons who are blind, visually impaired or otherwise print disabled, 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 implemented the directive via the Copyright and Related Rights (Marrakesh Treaty etc.) (Amendment) Regulations 2018.

The Marrakesh Treaty from 1 January 2021

The regulation and the UK’s implementation of the directive will be retained in UK law from 1 January 2021.

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.

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 by 1 January 2021.

Published 30 January 2020