Friday, November 13, 2009

Serbia's New Draft Copyright Law - A Partial Diff; Copyright Watch, 11/12/09

Danny OBrien, Copyright Watch; Serbia's New Draft Copyright Law - A Partial Diff:

"Disability Exceptions

The new Serbian law has an explicit exception for "persons with invalidity" (Article 54):

For the needs of the persons with invalidity, it is allowed, without the permission of the author and without payment of the remuneration, to copy and distribute the work protected by copyright, if such a work does not exist in the required form, if its use is in direct connection with the invalidity of persons concerned and in the scope that is required by a specific kind of invalidity providing the copying and distribution has not been made for the sake of realizing direct or indirect commercial gain.

Disability exceptions are at the forefront of current discussions of international copyright, with WIPO currently debating a proposed Treaty on Improved Access for Blind, Visually Impaired and other Reading Disabled Persons to normalize these exceptions across the world.

Serbia's proposed provisions score plus points for not restricting the scope of their exception to just those with reading disabilities or the blind. Modern technology means that content can be improved for a whole range of sensory disabilities (like signing books for the many people born with hearing disabilities who develop reading problems).

Unfortunately, the Article makes no mention of one of the key limiting factors for many with disabilities right now: bypassing the digital rights management restrictions on existing digital content to transform it by themselves into a new, accessible form. Article 208 contains Serbia's anti-circumvention provisions, similar to the United State's DMCA; it's not clear from a first glance that those with disabilites can legally access their own media if they have to bypass DRM to transform it."

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