Following a consultation to adapt the UK copyright framework to make it more flexible, modern and robust to deal with current and future technologies, the UK Intellectual Property Office (UK IPO) has published a number of new copyright exceptions for review.
In 2012, following recommendations by the Hargreaves Review, the UK IPO consulted on making changes to the UK’s copyright framework to ensure it would remain relevant in the ever-changing digital world. The consultation considered to what extent the UK ought to adopt the copyright exceptions outlined in the Copyright Directive (2001/29/EC).
In December 2012, the UK Government published its response to the consultation, "Modernising Copyright", announcing that it would introduce a number of new copyright exceptions. The UK IPO has now published copyright exceptions for private copying, parody, quotation, public administration, data analysis for non-commercial research, education, research, libraries and archives for review.
The proposed private copying exception will allow private individuals to copy content they own, and which they acquired lawfully, to other media or devices, strictly for their own personal use.
Creators will be allowed to make minor use of other people’s copyright material for the purposes of parody, caricature or pastiche without first asking for permission. This new parody exception has been drafted as a fair dealing exception to avoid it being abused as a defence of outright copying of an original work.
The new quotation exception allows the use of quotations for reasonable purposes that cause minimal harm to copyright owners, such as academic citation or hyperlinking. To qualify for this fair dealing exception, a work must have previously been made available to the public lawfully and its use must be accompanied by sufficient acknowledgment.
The public administration exception is intended to allow public bodies to share third party information online, which has already been made available, for public review or on an official register.
The introduction of an exception for data analysis for non-commercial research is aimed at amending current legislation so it is not an infringement where a person who already has a right to access a copyright work copies that work as part of a technological process of analysis and synthesis for the sole purpose of non-commercial research. Accordingly, a licence giving access to a work will not prevent or restrict use of the work, but may impose conditions on or limit access to the licensor’s computer system or to third party systems on which the work is accessed.
The proposed amendments to the education exception are aimed at all types of copyright work and modern technology, and enable teachers to make reasonable use of copyright materials without infringing copyright, as long as such use is minimal, non-commercial and fair to copyright owners. The exceptions are intended to allow broadcasts to take place on the premises of educational establishments as well as via secure distance-learning networks, provided copyright material is not transmitted to people not affiliated with the educational establishment. The exception only applies to the extent that licences are unavailable for the activities concerned. Accordingly, educational establishments will continue to need to hold licences for uses of copyright materials such as photocopying books or recording television programmes.
Similarly, there is a proposal that the exception pertaining to research and private study should be amended to permit fair dealing, in connection with any type of copyright work, for the purposes of non-commercial research and private study, thereby including sound recordings, films and broadcasts.
In respect of archiving and preservation, the draft legislation seeks to widen existing exceptions by allowing librarians and archivists to copy certain works, including all copyright works, for the purposes of preservation, and to extend the exceptions to cultural organisations such as museums and galleries.
The new exceptions were published on 7 June and 21 June 2013 and the UK IPO has invited comments by 17 July and 2 August 2013 respectively. It was originally anticipated that the new copyright exceptions would come into force in October 2013. It is likely, however, that implementation will be delayed until 2014.