What is an intermediate copy?

A new Section 31BA of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 contains a provision for the making and supply of intermediate copies by authorised bodies. An intermediate copy is defined as a copy of the work that is ‘necessary in order to make the accessible copy.’

Section 31F – the interpretation section – tells us that an accessible copy is a ‘version of the work which enables the fuller enjoyment of the work by disabled persons.’ However, there is no definition of an intermediate copy.

It is important to understand this as it is an important part of the process of creating accessible copies. It is possible that, in the course of creating a file that will be accessible to your user, you will end up with several intermediate copies. Arguably, if the file needs further work to render it accessible, it is still an intermediate copy.

Alistair McNaught, Accessibility and Inclusion Specialist at JISC, believes that it is a balance between two factors: the accessibility features that have been added (as each one will lead to a new intermediate version) and the extent to which the file can be adapted to meet further needs (if it can be further used, it is arguably an intermediate version).

Don’t forget – if nothing needs to be done with a file to make it accessible, then full ownership and licensing rights remain with the publisher.

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