Repost from the Sports, Media and Entertainment Intelligence bulletin from the Media & Sports Group at DLA Piper


UK: Relaxation on UK copyright law

In the UK government’s response to consultation on copyright exceptions and clarifying copyright law published in December 2012, the UK government has announced that copyright law will be changed in order to reduce possible barriers to competition and growth while continuing to incentivise content creators and support them in protecting their rights from unlawful use.

The change in the law will also make it easier for writers to quote other sources, for people to make parodies of copyrighted works and for teachers to use copyright materials on interactive whiteboards.  The UK government will publish draft legislation for technical review during 2013, and the new legislative measures are intended to come into force in October 2013.

According to the response document, by introducing through Parliament a revised framework of boundaries for copyright and related rights in the digital age, the UK government aims to find a balance between the interests of consumers, creators, right-holders and users.

The new copyright law will change the scope of various categories of permitted acts, including:

Private copying

People will be permitted to copy content they have bought onto any medium or device that they own, such as transferring their music collection from CD to iPod, as long as they do so strictly for their own personal use, and they will not be allowed to share those copies with others.  Consumers will be allowed to copy material to and from private online cloud storage, but providers of value-added cloud services will still require appropriate licences from copyright owners. 

Quotation, reporting current events and speeches

There will be a more general permission for quotation of copyright works for any purpose, as long as any particular use is “fair dealing” and its source is acknowledged.  This will allow minor uses of copyright materials, such as fair references and fair citations in academic papers, fair quotation as part of educational activities and short fair quotations on Internet blogs or in tweets.  However, photographs will still be excluded from news reporting provisions. 

Parody, caricature and pastiche

Limited copying on a fair-dealing basis will be allowed for parody, caricature and pastiche.  However, existing protection for moral rights, including the right to object to derogatory treatment, will be maintained. 

Research and private study

Library users will be allowed to copy sound recordings, films and broadcasts, without permission from the copyright holder, for non-commercial research and private study purposes.  However, the usage for research must be accompanied by a sufficient acknowledgement.  The change, which expands an existing exception covering literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works, is limited to fair dealing.  Educational institutions, libraries, archives and museums will also be permitted to offer access to the same types of copyright works on their premises by electronic means at dedicated terminals. 

Data analytics for non-commercial research

Non-commercial researchers will be allowed to use computers to study published research results and other data.  Where researchers have lawful access to copyright works, such as through a subscription to a scientific journal or having copies of papers published under a Creative Commons licence, they will be allowed to make copies of those works to the extent necessary for their computer analysis.  Researchers will have to negotiate, for example through licensing, access to those works with copyright holders.  This approach will allow publishers to control access to their computer systems and get paid for the services they provide. 


The new law will make it easier to use interactive whiteboards and similar technology in classrooms, provide access to copyright works over secure networks to support the growing demand for distance learning, and allow use of all media in teaching and education.  Only limited use of works will be allowed without a licence, so educational institutions will continue to require licences for general reprographic copying, such as copying significant extracts from textbooks to hand out to students.  However, minor acts of copying for the purpose of teaching which cause little harm to rights holders, such as fair copying of a text extract to display on an interactive whiteboard, will be permitted without a licence. 

Exceptions for people with disabilities

The government will allow people with disabilities the right to obtain copyright works in an accessible and suitable form.  This will apply to all types of disability that prevent someone from accessing a copyright work and to all types of copyright work. 

Archiving and preservation

Archives, galleries, libraries and museums will be allowed to preserve any type of copyright work that is in their permanent collection and cannot readily be replaced. 

Public administration

The existing exceptions will be broadened to enable more public bodies to proactively share some third party information online, as they already can through issuing paper copies.  The changes will only apply to works that are unpublished, or works that are already available to public inspection, and therefore, will not compete with commercial use of works.