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Authorized Entities

Authorized entities may access NIMAS filesets, convert them to specialized formats, and distribute them to qualified students with print disabilities after registering with the NIMAC as accessible media producers (AMPs) and signing a Limitation-of-Use Agreement (LUA) provided by the NIMAC. In addition, a textbook and/or core print-related material(s) must be requested by an authorized user (AU) assigned by a state education agency (SEA). It will then be possible for an authorized entity to obtain NIMAS filesets (source files) from the NIMAC.

These entities qualify for a special exemption to copyright law and are thus able to distribute content for which electronic rights may not have been provided to educational publishers in order to improve access for qualified individuals with disabilities. A defintion for "authorized entity" is provided within Public Law 104-197 (also known as the Chafee Amendment), Section 121(c)(1):

Authorized Entity

Non-profit organization or governmental agency with primary mission to provide specialized services to blind or other persons with disabilities.

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National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard (NIMAS)

A technical standard used to produce XML-based source files for print-based educational materials.

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Print Disability

A person who cannot effectively use printed materials because of a disability.

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National Instructional Materials Access Center (NIMAC)

Central national repository established at American Printing House for the Blind to store, validate, maintain and disseminate NIMAS filesets.

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Accessible Media Producers (AMPs)

Produced specialized formats of instructional materials for use by blind or other persons with print disabilities.

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LUA (Limitation-of-Use Agreement)

Legal agreement ensuring NIMAS filesets are converted for the exclusive purpose of producing accessible instructional materials for print disabled.

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Authorized User

Agent of a coordinating agency with access to the NIMAC database to download NIMAS-conformant files.

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State Education Agency (SEA)

Agency responsible for supervision of a state’s or territory’s public elementary and secondary schools.

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Chafee Amendment

Copyright Law Amendment allowing authorized entities to reproduce previously published work for use by blind or other persons with disabilities.

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(c) For purposes of this section, the term—

(1) 'authorized entity' means a nonprofit organization or a governmental agency that has a primary mission to provide specialized services relating to training, education, or adaptive reading or information access needs of blind or other persons with disabilities;

In addition, the NIMAS and NIMAC language in IDEA 2004 applies to K–12 education, so NIMAS content preparation and distribution pertains to K–12 educational materials. To learn more about organizations that qualify as authorized entities, please refer to the NLS fact sheet on the Copyright Law Amendment.

A tentative list of these entities is provided below. Additional recommendations should be emailed to aem@cast.org.

Authorized entities include—

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)

Federal law governing rights of children with disabilities to receive free and appropriate public education in least restrictive environment.

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