16.1 The digital era creates the potential for vastly improved access to copyright material for people with disability. However current legislative arrangements mean that this potential is not fully realised. The Copyright Act provides for a statutory licence for institutions assisting people with disability. The licence allows these institutions to make accessible versions of copyright works, but its scope of the licence is limited, the administrative requirements are onerous, and it has not facilitated the establishment of an online repository for people with print disability. The exceptions available for individuals—fair dealing, format shifting and the s 200AB ‘special case’ exception—are also limited in their scope. The widespread use of technological protection measures (TPMs) is creating significant barriers to access for people with disability.

16.2 The ALRC recommends that access for people with disability should be an illustrative purpose listed in the fair use exception. Many uses for this purpose will be fair, as they are transformative and do not have an impact on the copyright owner’s existing market. Including this purpose as an illustrative purpose will increase certainty and confidence for users, and encourage people to undertake these socially desirable uses. Fair use would not usually permit a use that competed with a commercially available product, and would ensure that commercial publishers retain an incentive to produce accessible material.