New copyright bill to give people with disabilities greater access

It will allow the reproduction of multiple copies of copyrighted works

New copyright bill to give people with disabilities greater access

Jobs Minister Mary Mitchell O'Connor (centre) looking at leather bound Braille books from 1920s at the launch of new legislation | Image via @JobsEnterInnov on Twitter

A new copyright bill will give people with a disability greater access to copyrighted works.

The bill was announced by Jobs Minister Mary Mitchell O'Connor.

It will allow the reproduction of multiple copies of copyrighted works, in formats that are suitable for disabled people.

An individual will be able to make a personal copy of a work, modified to meet their special needs.

The bill also allows designated bodies - such as the National Council for the Blind - to make multiple copies of a work, and to share these with other organisations as well individuals.

It will ultimately pave the way for ratification by Ireland of the international Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons who are Blind, Visually Impaired, or otherwise Print Disabled.

This treaty is to enter into effect shortly with 20 signatory states.

While Ireland has signed the treaty, the ratification process is expected to be moved forward with publication - later this year - of legislative proposals to harmonise all EU member states.

The Department of Jobs say: "The changes that the bill will make in Irish law will not, of themselves, be sufficient to allow Ireland to ratify the Marrakesh Treaty."

"Rather, the EU measure that will facilitate cross-border exchange of books will have to await the EU proposals expected to be published in September 2016 and then discussed in Council and at the European Parliament."

The department adds that it will work "constructively alongside the European Commission" to ensure the earliest possible date to facilitate ratification of the treaty by the EU.