Changes to copyright law to come into force 1 June 2014

UPDATED: Parody and personal copying exceptions delayed

UPDATE: On 8th May Intellectual Property Minister Lord Younger announced that whilst the Disability, Research, Education, Libraries & Archives and Public Administration sets of regulations are on course to come into force on 1st June as anticipated (subject to Parliamentary approval), the regulations on Personal Copies for Private Use, and Parody & Quotation are likely to be delayed. The  Parliamentary Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments has asked to discuss a number of questions about those two sets of regulations with the Government, with the result that their implementation is likely to take place after 1st June 2014. No new date has been set.

Lord Younger’s statement can be found here.


Five sets of regulations will bring into force new exceptions to copyright on 1 June 2014. The regulations implement some long called for changes including allowing copying for personal use and includes format shifting – for example copying CDs to mp3s. This is a change which will be seen as bringing the law into line with the practical reality of what individuals do with lawfully held copyright works. Another change, which has long been sought-after is the introduction of an exception for parody, pastiche and quotation. So long as the use remains fair dealing it will be permitted.

The changes for research and educational use will widen the ways in which schools, colleges and universities may use copyright materials, which was thought particularly necessary given the increasing prevalence of distance learning, and the use of technology in teaching (for example, displaying copyright works on interactive whiteboards). They will also allow copying of films, broadcasts and sound recordings for non-commercial use and private study.

In an importance change for disabled people, it will be permissible to copy a protected work owned by a disabled person into a format that makes the work accessible to them where otherwise it would not be (for example large print). Charities will also be able to make multiple copies of protected works into formats accessible to the disabled provided a suitable format is not commercially available.

As a whole the changes are said to make UK copyright law better suited for the digital age. The changes contain safeguards to ensure that a reasonable balance is maintained between the interests of creators, owners, performers, consumers and users of copyright works.

The following five sets of regulations will amend the relevant sections of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988:

1.    The Copyright and Rights in Performances (Personal Copies for Private Use) Regulations 2014

 A new exception which will allow limited personal copying by individual consumers. Individuals may copy media they have lawfully acquired, such as CDs or eBooks, from one media or device to another, for their own private use. The exception applies to all types of copyright works, and permits copying to all types of personal storage, including remote “cloud” storage. The exception is narrowly drawn to prevent people relying on the exception to obtain copyright works without paying for them.

2.    The Copyright and Rights in Performances (Quotation and Parody) Regulations 2014

The current fair dealing provisions for the purpose of criticism or review are broadened to permit quotation from a work for any purpose, so long as it remains “fair dealing” and is accompanied by a sufficient acknowledgement.  Examples include academic citation and use in examination papers.

Another important change relates to caricature, parody or pastiche. To date, creators in the UK have been liable for copyright infringement if even a small amount of copying without permission takes place when making a parody work (for example). This has been seen as a problematic limit on what can be done in terms of comedy, parody and satire. This new exception allows caricature, parody and pastiche provided that the use made of the copyright work constitutes fair dealing.

 3.    The Copyright and Rights in Performances (Disability) Regulations 2014

The scope of the existing laws allowing individuals or charities to make books in accessible formats for blind or visually impaired people without infringing copyright is extended. It will be possible to copy any type of copyright work for the benefit of people with any impairment, if and to the extent that impairment prevents them from accessing a copyright work.

4.    The Copyright and Rights in Performances (Research, Education, Libraries and Archives) Regulations 2014

Research and private study: the scope of the existing fair dealing exception for research and private study is extended from literary or artistic works to include all copyright works, including sound recordings, films and broadcasts. This extends to copies provided to users by libraries. A further exception also enables educational and cultural institutions to make works available for research or private study via dedicated terminals on their premises. This is in line with existing practice in other EU countries and will facilitate access to works that are too fragile to display.

Text and data analysis for non-commercial research: A new copyright exception permits researchers to carry out non-commercial research to use text and data mining technologies (i.e. the bulk copying of electronic information to analyse patterns, trends and other useful information) without the need to seek additional permission. Use should be accompanied by sufficient acknowledgment.

Education: At present, teachers are able to copy a small amount of material where necessary to illustrate a point, without first seeking permission from the copyright owner, so long as the copying is done by hand. Under the new provisions, teachers are able to reproduce material using modern technology. It will also widen the exception to cover other types of material such as film and sound recordings. The aim is to ensure copyright provisions keep pace with the use of technology for education.

5.    The Copyright (Public Administration) Regulations 2014

Existing copyright exceptions are updated to enable public bodies to make relevant copyright material that they hold available to the public online. The changes only give new powers to the public body/registrar. Anyone accessing information shared by the public body will remain bound by the usual copyright rules.


The Intellectual Property Office intends to make an informal consolidated copy of the regulations available online to the public (free of charge) by the time the changes come into force. A useful summary of the main changes and indication of which leaflets to read for more importation on a particular change can be found here.