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'Missing' copyright exceptions approved

As we previously reported here, on 1 June 2014, steps were taken by the Government to bring copyright law more in line with the digital age by introducing a number of additional copyright exceptions - As we previously reported here, on 1 June 2014, steps were taken by the Government to bring copyright law more in line with the digital age by introducing a number of additional copyright exceptions - for libraries, education, research, public bodies and use by people with disabilities.  However, the exceptions relating to private copying, parody and quotation which were expected to come into force at the same time were delayed, in order to give Parliament more time to review the draft Statutory Instruments (SIs) before their implementation.  On 29 July, the House of Lords finally approved the draft SIs (click here and here) which will allow, in some circumstances, private copying and parody and will broaden the scope of the current quotation exception beyond criticism and review:

Private Copying: This new exception is relatively modest (especially when compared to private copying in other EU member states), and is limited to the making of personal copies for private use, such as allowing someone to copy a CD they have bought so they can listen to it on their iPad. It does not allow for the sharing of works, for the making of copies from sources which the user does not own, nor for the removal of any anti-piracy technical protections measures.  It does however allow people to keep copies stored in personal cloud services, providing these are not shared.  Recently appointed IP Minister, Baroness Neville-Rolfe (replacing Lord Younger), summed up the new rule in terms that, "if you lawfully own it, you can copy it, as long as you do not give copies to other people." Unsurprisingly, some in the media industry have paled at the introduction of this exception, but the Government considers that there is no additional loss incurred by the legalising of private copying which, in most cases, is already taking place.  Under EU copyright law, compensation for private copying can only be awarded for actual loss, as opposed to merely the prevention of additional income, making the imposition of levies impossible.  In any event, levies would prove hugely unpopular with the public and the social impact of these measures could potentially undermine copyright as a whole.

Parody/caricature/pastiche: Baroness Neville-Rolfe observed that it was important for the UK "to protect the right to mock the high and mighty", providing that the copying is framed within the constraints of the "fair dealing" exception.  Therefore, such copying will only be legal if it does not have any negative impact on the revenues generated by the original work (e.g. use of an entire music track on a spoof video will not be acceptable) and if it does not affect any of the author's moral rights, including the right of integrity and protection against derogatory treatment.  In reality, the fair dealing requirement may therefore limit the effectiveness of the new parody exception.

Quotation: Previously, UK copyright law has only allowed the use of quotations for the sole purpose of "criticism or review". The changes will permit any type of fair and honest quotation for purposes which include, but are not limited to, criticism or review, providing the source of the quotation is clearly acknowledged and that the original work has been previously made available to the public.  The use of the work for the purpose of quotation must also be in accordance with fair practice, which would exclude use which is greater than required for the specific purpose.  This new exception brings the UK in line with EU and international law.

These reforms demonstrate a further, progressive step towards a public interest copyright policy which attempts to balance the public's right to freedom of expression and access to knowledge and culture whilst protecting the interests of rights owners in a way which is proportionate and fair.  The new exceptions will come into force on 1 October 2014.


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