[A2k] Government of Israel press release (in English) on the passage of the VIP bill amending the Copyright Act of 2007

Thiru Balasubramaniam thiru at keionline.org
Thu Mar 20 07:06:30 PDT 2014

The Israel Knesset (Parliament) enacted an amendment to the Copyright Act,
2007 for the purpose of advancing the equal participation of persons with
disabilities in the cultural sphere through the promotion of access to
literary and artistic art works and information.

The Ministry of Justice (Legislation and Legal Counsel Division - Civil
Law) led this legislative process in cooperation with the Commission for
the Equal Rights of Persons with Disabilities and other Ministry

Under current copyright law the making of an accessible format copy of a
work of copyright, without the underlying copyright owner's consent, such
as the printing of a book in braille or the making of an aural recording of
a book for use by persons with hearing disabilities, may contradict the
Copyright Act, 2007. In order to balance the rights of copyright owners
with the goals the law promotes, the amendment will provide, among other
things, that the making of accessible format copies will be permitted for
the purpose of making them accessible to persons with disabilities. The
entities entitled to make such accessible format copies will be limited to
certain not for profit organizations and educational institutions when the
adaptation is done on a non-profit basis, or by a disabled person or a
person acting on his behalf and for personal use.

Currently there is a significant lack of accessible format copies, such as
braille books, audiobooks or large print books for people with impaired
vision or a form of dyslexia, as well as a lack of subtitles or translation
to sign language for persons with impaired hearing. The amendment is
intended to rectify this situation and enable persons with disabilities
access to cultural works, educational materials and research information,
without the uncertainty as to whether the making of accessible format
copies falls within the copyright monopoly or not.

Minister of Justice, Ms. Tzipi Livni stated: "All people are entitled to
enjoy access to works of art and literature, and persons with disabilities
are no different in that respect. The bill benefits everyone, as persons
with disabilities will be better able to encounter and enjoy works of
culture, and the creators of such will have a new and broader audiences for
their works."

The Deputy Attorney General (Civil Law), Mr. Erez Kaminitz added: "The
Making Works, Performances and Broadcasts Accessible for Persons with
Disabilities Act (Amendments), 2014, crafts a proper balance of copyright
owners' moral and economic rights with the public interest goals of
encouraging  creation of new works through intellectual property
incentives, alongside the establishment of specific copyright limitations
and exceptions designed to further the public interest goal of making works
of culture accessible to persons with disabilities as well as the overall
promotion of culture, knowledge and freedom of speech. The law is expected
to vastly improve the accessibility of various works of culture such as,
books, periodicals and other works to persons with disabilities. In
addition, I thank the Knesset Economic Affairs Committee for their input
and cooperation which has led to such a successful outcome for this
legislative amendment."

The Commissioner for the Equal Rights of Persons with Disabilities in the
Ministry of Justice, Mr. Ahia Kamara added: "The Making Works, Performances
and Broadcasts Accessible for Persons with Disabilities Act (Amendments),
2014, is yet another step in the accessibility revolution which has been
gaining momentum over the past few years. Upon the completion of the
legislative process, Israel will join a list of countries such as the
United States, United Kingdom, Canada and Australia, who have already
enacted similar laws to enable the integration of persons with disabilities
in the cultural and arts spheres through accessible means."

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