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Copyright for Accessible eBooks

Primary supervisor

Cagatay Goncu


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For Australians with impaired vision, accessible books are a lifeline to education and vital everyday information, and also to the independence and personal autonomy that sighted people take for granted. Yet much literature remains in an inaccessible format. 

One part of the problem is the conversion of textual and graphical information in existing books. This requires algorithms to access the raw content and convert them into an accessible format. However, accessing copyrighted material poses challenges for both the publishers and the consumers. On one hand publishers need to deal with generating alternative content and the costs associated with it. On the other hand, the consumers - in this case people who are blind or have low vision (BLV) - need to navigate the complexities of linking the publishers with accessible content transcribers to get their preferred accessible format such as Braille, or text and audio descriptions.

In this project you will be investigating the best ways of accessing the raw data from book publishers to content transcribers and then to BLV. You will prepare surveys and conduct interviews with publishers, transcribers and BLV to understand the practical challenges that arise in this space. You will then investigate how the results of these interviews and surveys can be integrated with existing frameworks such as the Australian Copyright Amendment (Disability Access and Other Measures) Bill 2017 and the (international) Marrakesh Treaty. The goal is to work out a practical process that also aligns with relevant legislative imperatives.