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Court Victory for Blind People in South Africa

The Copyright Act in South Africa, in force since 1978, has limited access to written material for people who are visually impaired or blind by barring the conversion of materials to braille or other accessible formats without the permission of copyright holders. This “’book famine’” has been declared unconstitutional by Gauteng High Court Judge Mandla Mbongwe. The Judge deemed this requirement to be “an unreasonable and unjustifiable limit to the rights of those with visual disabilities.” The ruling, effective immediately, means that blind people can access all written works, without the consent of the copyright holder, and convert the material in an accessible format, such as braille or digital formats. The battle to overturn this act was a lengthy process, beginning in 2010. Read more about this news from GroundUp in Court victory for blind people after 11-year battle.