Changes in the Copyright Law

Kristine R. Brancolini (
Fri, 1 Nov 1996 11:28:40 -0500 (EST)

Yesterday there was a question on the ereserves listserv regarding making
audiotapes from books for students with disabilities. I just heard about
changes in the Copyright Law for this purpose and I thought I would pass
on what I know. If any of you operate production facilities it would
apply to you.

My response is first, the query second.

Kristine Brancolini
Indiana University Libraries

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Fri, 1 Nov 1996 11:24:14 -0500 (EST)
From: Kristine R. Brancolini <>
Subject: Re: Books on Tape

Fair use does not apply in this situation because there has been an
amendment to the Copyright Act that specifically addresses producing
e-text, Braille, and cassette versions "of any and all books for
individuals with disabiliites." That quotation is from a message that
appeared on DSSHE-L listserv on August 5, 1996. I think the language of
the bill (P.L. 104-197, section 316, signed into law on September 16 and
effective immediately) is somewhat confusing about the number of copies you can
make. It says, "(1) The permission of publishers or copyright owners is not
not required if an authorized entity reproduces or distributes a
nondramatic literary work in a specialized format for the exclusive use
of blind persons or others with physical disabilities." "(3)'Specialized
formats' include Braille, audio, or digital text exclusively for use by
blind or other persons with disabilities." "(5) Every work which is
reproduced in a specialized format must include a notice that further
reproduction without permission of the copyright holder is prohibited
unless the reproduction is in a specialized format." That seems to say
that multiple copies are permissible.

For further information, see the website of the National Federation of
the Blind; they negotiated the agreement with the Association of American
Publishers (AAP): Then go to their section on
legislation. The exact URL is
txt. Note that the actual document is ftp not http.

The change is Section 121 of the Copyright Act: "Limitations on
exclusive rights; reproduction for blind or other people with disabilities."

Kristine Brancolini
Indiana University Libraries

On Thu, 31 Oct 1996, Kelly Pavey Barone wrote:

> I have a question regarding recordings of books. We have some visually
> impaired students who require audio recordings of books used in class. A
> department on campus has purchased a single copy of books and has hired
> students to make audio tapes of the books for the visually impaired
> students. Because the books were purchased specifically for this purpose,
> it was felt that making one audio copy would be considered fair use;
> however, would additional copies require copyright permission? Any thoughts?
> Thanks!