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UK: three new copyright exceptions come into force

01 October 2014
The statutory instruments relating to new UK copyright exceptions for private copying and quotation & parody have now been approved by UK Parliament and come into force on 1 October 2014.

The private copying exception allows individuals in the UK to make copies of copyright works they have legally acquired on a permanent basis, for their own personal, non-commercial use, e.g. to copy a legally bought CD onto a pc. The new laws, however, do not allow the personal copies to be shared with others. Unlike other EU jurisdictions, there is no accompanying levy structure to compensate rights holders. In order to limit the harm, rights holders are not prevented from using "restrictive measures" (such as DRM) to restrict the copying of their works for private use. However consumers may raise complaints with the UK's Business Secretary if such measures are deemed to be unreasonably deployed.

The new quotation exception extends the current criticism and review and news reporting exceptions, allowing users 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). Although the exception applies to all works, in practice there are some works, such as photographs, which are impossible to extract or quote from. As with the other new exceptions it is no longer possible for rights holders to restrict the doing of a permitted act by contract.

A new exception for fair dealing for the purposes of parody, caricature and pastiche has also been introduced. An exception to infringement for use for the purposes of parody, caricature and pastiche is available to EU member states under the InfoSoc Directive and has been implemented in a number of member states. However, in implementing the exception, the UK has made it subject to a 'fair dealing' proviso, in order to avoid unfairly damaging the normal commercial exploitation of the work. Such a proviso may ultimately reduce the usefulness of such an exception but it remains to be seen how the UK Courts will interpret the new law.

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