Government proposes changes to copyright exceptions

Private copying, a parody defence and relaxations on copyright for schools and libraries suggested

The Government has proposed allowing private copying of music and films, allowing parodies of copyright works and relaxing copying restrictions for schools and libraries in a major intellectual property consultation.

The process is intended to implement many of the recommendations made in respect of copyright by Andrew Gowers in his December 2006 Review of Intellectual Property:

  • It is proposed to create a new exception that would allow consumers to make a copy, for personal or private use, of a work they legally own, to make the work accessible in another format for playback on a device in their lawful possession.
  • A new fair dealing style exception for parody, caricature or pastiche is proposed.
  • It is proposed that educational establishments be able to communicate passages from published works using interactive whiteboards and electronically to distance learners by means of an amendment to section 36 of the CDPA, which presently allows such establishments to copy passages from published works and provide handouts to students.
  • Section 42 of the CDPA currently allows prescribed libraries or archives to make a copy of a literary, dramatic or musical work held in their permanent collection for the purpose of preservation and replacement. It is proposed that the exception be expanded to also allow copies of sound recordings, films and broadcasts to be made, and that these prescribed bodies be able to format shift where works are held on unstable media. 
  • There are also proposals relating to education to allow the private research exception to relate to all content (rather than just literary, artistic, dramatic and musical works), and to amend section 35 of the CDPA to allow distance learning students to receive and view broadcasts that have been recorded by educational establishments.

Intellectual property minister Lord Triesman said the law should be changed so it “keeps up with the times” and that the proposals explore “where the boundaries lie between strong protection for right holders and appropriate levels of access for users”.

The deadline for responses to the consultation is April 8th.