Bill C-65 Support for Canadians with Print Disabilities Act

Bill C-65, the Support for Canadians with Print Disabilities Act, was introduced in the House of Commons on 8 June 2015. The Bill gives tangible form to the Government’s earlier promise to adhere to the WIPO Marrakesh Treaty which seeks to provide reading material to visually impaired individuals.

The Bill alters parts of Section 32 of the Copyright Act which deals with ‘Persons with Perceptual Difficulties’ in the following manner:

  • 32 (1) (a) now permits one to “reproduce a literary, musical, artistic or dramatic work, other than a cinematographic work, in a format specially designed for persons with a perceptual disability.” The previous version permitted the making of a copy or sound recording in such a format.

The Act introduces two new sub-sections to 32 (1) (a):

  • 32 (1) (a.1) allows the fixation of a performer’s performance of the same types of works in a similar manner, while 32 (1) (a.2) allows fixation of a sound recording in the same manner.

The Act introduces a new sub-section to 32 (1) (b):

  • 32 (1) (b) which permitted the translation, adaptation or reproduction into sign language of works is amended in the following manner: “(b.1) provide a person with a perceptual disability with, or provide such a person with access to, a work or other subject-matter to which any of paragraphs (a) to (b) applies, in a format specially designed for persons with a perceptual disability, and do any other act that is necessary for that purpose.

Section 32 (2) which formerly did not authorise the production of large print texts, and 32 (3) which limited the application of the making of alternatives where there was a commercially available copy which met the needs of those with perceptual difficulties, have been replaced with language that does not preclude the making of large print texts and employs the definition of “commercially available” to the language of the Copyright Act (that is, it is available on the Canadian market at a reasonable price and easily acquired).

Other changes to the legislation (Section 32.01) clarify the role of non-profit organisations (including government agencies and departments at any level when acting in a non-profit capacity) in the production of works for those with perceptual difficulties and the exportation of such works to other countries. Finally, the Bill makes changes to Section 41.16 of the Act, which permits the circumvention of a technological protection measure in the making available of works for persons with perceptual difficulties, including identifying non-profit organisations as bodies that enjoy protection under this section.

The Government has already signaled the dissolution of the current session of Parliament at the end of June, so passage of these amendments will need to be moved through both Houses in the coming weeks. See commentary here.

Thanks to Lexology for the initial notification.