Thursday 13 June

23 January 2023, Johannesburg – Following the 21 September 2022 Constitutional Court victory, Blind SA and SECTION27 have drawn up a guide to Accessible Format Shifting titled #ENDINGTHEBOOKFAMINE for People Who are Blind or Visually Impaired. The guide will be launched at a Right to Research Conference at the University of Pretoria on Tuesday, 24 January 2023, as follows:

Venue: University of Pretoria Conference Centre (Sanlam Auditorium)

Date: Tuesday, 24 January 2023

Time: 11:40 – 13:30

Live stream link:


A panel of experts will dissect this guide and discuss the implications of the Constitutional Court Judgment which declared the Copyright Act unconstitutional. The panellists will also reflect on the Marrakesh Treaty and tackle the barriers to visually impaired people’s right to research. 

The Constitutional Court has declared the Copyright Act of 1978 unconstitutional and invalid because it limits access to literary and artistic works in accessible formats. The Court granted an immediate exception to copyright for persons with disabilities, allowing them to convert literary and artistic works into accessible formats without obtaining authorisation from the copyright holder. Previously, as a result of the Copyright Act of 1978, people with disabilities would need to get authorisation from copyright holders to convert books into formats they could read. The Constitutional Court has now removed this requirement. This opens the door for persons with disabilities, improving access to books and other printed published works.

The Constitutional Court aims to remove the historical gap in access to books, as well as other literary and artistic works, between persons with disabilities and those without. Accordingly, people with disabilities must be granted the same access to books and other literary and artistic works as people without disabilities.

You can read the full guide here.

The Right to Research Conference kicks off today, 23 January, until 27 January in Pretoria and Cape Town. Click here for more information about the conference.


For media queries

Lebohang Tekela | | 069 117 8652

Patience Phiri | | 072 992 8380


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