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Wednesday, 22 September 2004


The BBC reports that a programmer has removed his accessible version of the data on the Odeon’s website after a letter from the cinema’s lawyer. Matthew Somerville found that it was impossible to use a screen-reader with the Odeon site when Explorer was used as a browser, so he used a scraper to remove the details of the Odeon’s films, times and booking system. He then posted the information on his personal website under the name “accessible Odeon”. The Odeon objected, pointing to its intellectual property rights.

It has been pointed out that, since the Odeon’s official site is not accessible to the blind, it may be in breach of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995. However, it’s not clear whether that Act applies to online content. Likewise, although the Copyright (Visually Impaired Persons) Act 2002 allows people with visual impairments to make accessible copies of printed materials, the situation for online content is not clear.

The IPKat adds that if accessible copies of commercial information are made, as well as reproducing copyright works, the maker is likely to be reproducing the trade marks of the undertaking to whom the information relates. The IPKat isn’t aware of any discussion of whether there is a need for a trade mark exception in the interests of the disabled, though such use may fall within the descriptive use defence.

Details of the Copyright (Visually Impaired Persons) Act 2002 here and here
The original Odeon here


Anonymous said...

There is nothing in the Copyright (Visually Impaired Persons) Act 2002 which restricts its effect to works originally published in hard, as opposed to electronic, form. Mr Somerville's difficulties may stem from the fact that he is not an "approved body" as required under s.31B CDPA 1988.

There is nothing in the trade mark point because s.10(6) of the TMA 1994 permits using a trade mark to refer to a trade mark proprietor so long as such reference is honest.

Anonymous said...

"However, it’s not clear whether that Act applies to online content." - the DDA Code of Practice explicitly states websites of service providers are covered.

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