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Wednesday, November 6 • 3:30pm - 4:10pm
Reconciling Civil Rights And Copyrights

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For years, college and university Disability Services Offices (DSOs) and others involved in fulfilling the requirements of disability rights laws have viewed copyright (the body of law that governs copying, adaptation, distribution) as an impediment to their work. They have been uncertain about what is permitted and have constrained their activities in support of civil rights out of fear of violating copyrights. The tension has dramatically curtailed their efficiency, and it is due primarily to a misunderstanding of the voluntary nature of the arrangements DSOs have with some of the biggest publishers. These arrangements place strict constraints on DSOs’ use and reuse of accessible texts, based on the publishers’ view of their commercial interests, not on the law. Some publishers have also included misleading warnings on accessible texts they provide to DSOs. In reality, even in the absence of such voluntary arrangements, copyright law provides institutions of higher education with broad authority to create accessible copies of in-copyright works, to distribute accessible texts to qualified users, and to retain and share remediated texts in secure repositories for use in serving future qualifying requests. The speakers on this panel recently produced an in-depth review of the legal issues raised by sharing copyrighted work in the context of serving those with print disabilities. This report is part of a multi-university effort to build national infrastructure for sharing remediated print, including in-copyright materials, in order to reduce duplication of effort and help colleges and universities provide better service to students, faculty, and staff who need accessible texts. Libraries, DSOs, and University Presses are working together in this effort, and three large repositories are also participating: Bookshare, the Internet Archive, and HathiTrust. The work is being funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and led by the University of Virginia.


Jack Bernard

Associate General Counsel, University of Michigan
avatar for Brandon Butler

Brandon Butler

Director of Information Policy, University of Virginia Library
Brandon is the first Director of Information Policy at the UVA Library. He provides guidance and education to the Library and its user community on intellectual property and related issues, and advocates on the Library's behalf. He received his J.D. from the UVA School of Law in... Read More →

Wednesday November 6, 2019 3:30pm - 4:10pm EST
Cypress Ballroom South, Courtyard Marriott Hotel 125 Calhoun Street, Charleston, SC 29401