UK To Introduce Wide Range of Copyright Exceptions

The UK government has announced plans to introduce a wide range of copyright exceptions. The plan includes a new private copying right that will permit personal copying of content onto any medium (including personal cloud storage) for personal use. The personal copying right will not require further payment or a levy system. Canada enacted a similar reform this year, though the levy remains for copying of sound recordings onto some media. The UK reforms will also include a fair dealing exception for non-commercial use of materials in teaching. The summary of UK reforms include:

  • Private copying – to permit people to copy digital content they have bought onto any medium or device that they own, but strictly for their own personal use such as transferring their music collection or eBooks to their tablet, phone or to a private cloud;
  • Education – to simplify copyright licensing for the education sector and make it easier for teachers to use copyright materials on interactive whiteboards and similar technology in classrooms and provide access to copyright works over secure networks to support the growing demand for distance learning handouts for students;
  • Quotation and news reporting – to create a more general permission for quotation of copyright works for any purpose, as long as the use of a particular quotation is “fair dealing” and its source is acknowledged;
  • Parody, caricature and pastiche – to allow limited copying on a fair dealing basis which would allow genuine parody, but prohibit copying disguised as parody;
  • Research and private study – to allow sound recordings, films and broadcasts to be copied for non-commercial research and private study purposes without permission from the copyright holder. This includes both user copying and library copying;
  • Data analytics for non-commercial research – to allow non-commercial researchers to use computers to study published research results and other data without copyright law interfering;
  • Access for people with disabilities – to allow people with disabilities the right to obtain copyright works in accessible formats where a suitable one is not already on the market;
  • Archiving and preservation – to allow museums, galleries, libraries and archives to preserve any type of copyright work that is in their permanent collection which cannot readily be replaced; and
  • Public administration – to widen existing exceptions to enable more public bodies to share proactively third party information online, which would reflect the existing position in relation to the use of paper copies.


  1. However, these proposals specifically say that they continue to support collective licensing.

  2. it’s okay
    But, I still strongly feel copyright last far too long. I also feel copyright should not be transferable. To me copyright is there for the benefit of the original creator only. In the event of death of the original creator of copyrighted material, I think it’s fair that their works immediately go into the public domain.

  3. UK To Introduce Wide Range of Copyright Exceptions
    it’s about bloody time!

    Dar what about if the death of the original creator of copyrighted material dies weeks or months after the release? It’s still fair that their works immediately go into the public domain?

  4. @dani
    “what about if the death of the original creator of copyrighted material dies weeks or months after the release? It’s still fair that their works immediately go into the public domain?”

    I’d be OK with that… It makes sense that when I die, my copyrights die with me.

  5. It’s good that lawmakers are considering these changes, however will they also make them non-existent in practice like in Canada? As far as I know, if any DRM is used by the vendor, then there is no more fair use in Canada. I wonder if the RIAA/MPAA/etc. will now use Canada as a model to make “balanced” changes in other countries: announcing that they will be giving consumers more rights, only to take *all* previous fair use rights away as soon as DRM enters the picture?

    It’s interesting to see that they mention DRM in the document and allow users to complain to the Secretary of State, but I wonder if that will survive the lobbying efforts. Also it states this: “It is important to note that the SoS cannot simply authorise a user to circumvent TPMs; it would not be lawful under the Copyright Directive. Possible outcomes of a SoS intervention would include a direction to the user to purchase an existing digital copy that was usable for the purpose required, or that a rights holder provide
    the user with a particular excerpt from a work.”

    So in some cases the Secretary of State will just tell the user to buy another copy? Isn’t that exactly what the industry wants? That we buy multiple copies of everything, once for every device we own?

  6. Actually the EU copyright directive does allow some flexibility in anti-circumvention laws. Therefore, most EU countries do not have rigid protection of DRM (TPMs). For example, many countries exclude region codes etc from protection, and allow (or, at least, not explicitly proscribe) non-commercial distribution of circumvention software. It seems odd for a country with a strong Euro-sceptical tradition, but The UK has a tendency for slavish implementation of EU law, always fully incorporating and gold-plating any mandatory requirements (in this case anti-circumvention law) into domestic law, while ignoring voluntary limitations.