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2006 HREOC media release: Copyright changes will reduce barriers

Commission Commission – General

15 May 2006

Copyright changes will reduce barriers

Extension of the "fair dealing" provisions in the Copyright Act to allow greater access for people with print disabilities, announced by the federal Government yesterday, will reduce major disadvantage according to Human Rights Commissioner and Commissioner responsible for Disability Discrimination, Graeme Innes AM.

"People with print disabilities have access to 3% of the information available to the general population. These changes will mean that this minuscule percentage can be increased," Mr Innes said.

"Copyright restrictions, and related waiting times, are just one of the reasons that people with print disabilities cannot access most print material, and wait unduly long times for the material which they do access.

"I congratulate the government for making these changes - which will benefit students, employees and the general public."

The proposed changes will allow a person with a print disability to scan print material and then - using computer technology - read it in braille or audio. They may also decrease the time necessary for libraries for people with print disabilities to make such material available.

Mr Innes, who reads using braille and speech output, has personal experience of these delays, and appreciates the benefits such changes will bring.

"It still won't mean equal access, but it will certainly make a difference," he said.

Media contact: Janine MacDonald 02 9284 9677 or 0407 660 235

updated 12 May, 2006