Yet another piece of legislation I’m afraid, but one that is fairly simple for handbell ringers. The Copyright (Visually Impaired Persons) Act came into force in October 2003. As usual, the content of the Act is quite complex to follow but the Royal National Institute for the Blind has a very good interpretation on their website www.rnib.org.uk . For HRGB the implications of the Act are that if you need to make a special copy in any format ie Braille, audio, large print, (in the Act it is called an ‘accessible copy’) of a piece of music for a member of your team who has a visual impairment, then you are able to do so provided you have already purchased a copy of the music score for that person. This is the same as the rules applied to number or alpha notation where for each transcribed copy of the music you must have an original score.

The Act also allows you to transfer the accessible copy to another person provided the original copy of the music remains with the accessible copy.

This is all fairly straightforward, but you can be sure that there are other inclusions in the Act, including the requirement to take out a licence if multiple accessible copies are to be produced. This element is perhaps more relevant to those members who compose or arrange music for handbells.

If you have any questions about Copyright for the Visually Impaired, please contact either the National Officers or your NEC representatives and we will investigate for you.

Alan Hartley
Chairman