I am interested in getting a score from Hal Leonard Corporation, but they might not be able to transcribe it to Braille directly, so that's something I will have to do myself.

Would I need to provide documentation certifying my blindness to get a PDF copy? Would I need to purchase the score first and then provide a copy of the receipt?

  • 1
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is not about the law or legal process, or the legal professions.
    – user4657
    Commented May 3, 2019 at 7:32
  • 2
    How is it not about the law? 17 USC 121 is a law in the United States, and if I am asking about how something pertains to it, or how I can apply the law to a certain situation, then I believe this question should be on topic, or at least migrated to a site that might be relevant to this question. Commented May 3, 2019 at 8:29
  • Asking for permission to do something based on that company's policy doesn't have anything to do with the law.
    – user4657
    Commented May 3, 2019 at 9:13

1 Answer 1


I'm not a lawyer, but under the law as it's written, I see two problems:

  • 17 USC 121 allows "authorized entities" to make and publish accessible copies of works. An "authorized entity" is defined as

    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.

    So if you, as a private citizen, decide to do this, it could conceivably be copyright infringement. You might have to set up some kind of non-profit organization to make it legal. It's also OK (I think) if you make such copies for your own personal use, so long as you don't redistribute them.

  • So far as I can tell, nothing under 17 USC 121 requires the original publisher to provide an "authorized entity" with a copy in any particular format (PDF, paper, or otherwise) for making accessible copies.

Basically, the law seems to have envisioned organizations of sighted people purchasing paper copies, transcribing them, and republishing them; not blind individuals doing electronic transcription for themselves.

It might still be worth contacting Hal Leonard and asking what they can do for you, but unfortunately it doesn't look like the law requires them to do anything for you. As Nij points out in the comments, this really seems to be a question about the company's policy, rather than the law.

  • A private citizen making her own copy of a score she purchased for personal use is fair use. If she's blind and has someone else who can see the printed music transcribe it for her, that's still fair use. If the transcriber is an "authorized entity," it can keep a copy for itself and distribute copies to other "eligible" people, subject to the specified conditions. But if HeavenlyHarmony needs a pdf copy of a music score to get the transcription done, the easiest way to achieve that may be with a scanner (depending on the length of the score).
    – phoog
    Commented May 4, 2019 at 5:13

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