The aim of the new copyright exemptions, brought into force in October 2014, is to widen the scope for educational purposes, from the use of copyrighted materials in research and study to teaching materials. The law has also been relaxed regarding the use of copyrighted works for parody. The widening of the scope of permitted use of copyrighted material should not be seen as a narrowing of a copyright owner's protection, but a means of supporting education. All the new provisions are limited by the proviso of 'fair dealing'. This concept limits the exemption to use that is fair and proportionate, ie, ensuring that such use does not materially affect the original work.

Generally, the law has been amended to make it easier for schools and universities to use copy materials for educational and teaching purposes. Individuals are now allowed to make copies of media they have bought, such as e-books and CDs. For the purposes of research and private study, the law has been redrafted to permit reasonable copying of films, broadcasts and sound recordings. Copyrighted works can now be more easily quoted (as long as such quoting is reasonable and fair).

In addition to the educational concessions, third parties are now allowed to use copyrighted material without the need for permission from the copyright owner for use in parody, caricature or pastiche. These new provisions aim to provide guidance and clarity on what constitutes appropriate parody.

The new exemptions are likely to be welcomed by educational institutions, as they relieve some concerns over the risks of modernisation of teaching and study methods. It will be interesting to track how third parties take advantage of this new law in the coming months.

Useful link

"Dumb and dumber? UK parody defences": www.dyoung.com/article-starbucks0214