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Posted in Copyright, Entertainment & Content, Policy & Regulation Penny Thornton

UK Changes to Copyright Exceptions

Three statutory instruments amending UK copyright exceptions came into force on 1 June 2014 relating to Public Administration, Disability, and Research, Education, Libraries & Archives. The changes are as follows:

Research, Education, Libraries and Archives

  • Extends the scope of existing exceptions for research and private study to cover sound recordings, films and broadcasts, which were previously excluded. A new provision also allows libraries, museums and archives to make works available for research or private study via dedicated terminals on their premises;
  • Extends the scope of existing exceptions for libraries and archives to cover artistic works, sound recordings and films and to apply to museums and galleries aswell as libraries and archives;
  • Grants a new exception to permit UK researchers to use text and data mining technologies in non-commercial research, where the researcher has a lawful right to access the content;
  • Grants a new exception to permit fair dealing for the purposes of ‘illustration for instruction’, similar to the existing exception for teachers doing things in the course of teaching but unlike the existing exception the new exception is not limited to copying by hand. It would allow teachers to use interactive whiteboards, for example;
  • Extends the scope of the existing exception for schools and universities to play broadcasts to pupils and students to allow the use of distance learning technology (provided it is a secure network only accessible by pupils and staff);
  • Expands the scope of the existing exception for schools and universities to make copies of passages of works, e.g. for hand-outs to allow schools and universities to make extracts of all types of works; to raise the copying limit from 1% to 5% and permit distribution of copies of such extracts using distance learning technology (provided it is a secure network only accessible by pupils and staff).


The instruments extend existing exceptions to allow anyone with a disability (not just blind or visually impaired people) to make an accessible copy of any work (not only books) for their personal use (where an accessible copy is not already commercially available) and to allow charities and educational establishments to make accessible format copies and issue them to those with a disability.

Public Administration

The instruments amend the existing exception relating to material open to public inspection to allow public bodies to make material that they hold available online without infringing copyright (provided that it is not commercially available).

Postponed statutory instruments relating to Private Copying and Quotation & Parody

The draft statutory instruments relating to private copying and quotation & parody have not yet been approved. As explained in the statement by the IP Minister, Lord Younger, the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments has raised questions about the draft statutory instruments on these matters; therefore, implementation of these statutory instruments is delayed until at least October 2014. If approved, the private copying exception will allow individuals in the UK to make copies of copyright works they have legally acquired, for their own personal, non-commercial use, e.g. to copy a legally bought CD onto a pc. The quotation exception would extend the current criticism and review and news reporting exceptions, allowing individuals to quote from any copyright work for any purpose (not just criticism and review or reporting current events) subject to the existing provisos (fair dealing, sufficient acknowledgement etc). A new exception for fair dealing for the purposes of parody, caricature and pastiche would also be introduced.