New guidance for copyright holders has been published by the Intellectual Property Office to coincide with forthcoming reform of UK copyright law, which will see exceptions introduced to make the law more relevant in the digital age. Small but potentially significant changes are being introduced which aim to permit “minor and reasonable acts of copying which benefit consumers, society and the economy” with minimal impact on copyright owners.

For those using copyright works to create new content, the law is changing to allow people to use limited amounts of another’s material without the owner’s permission for “caricature, parody or pastiche”, meaning that an artist may use “a limited, moderate amount” from other artworks, including film and music, to compose a larger pastiche artwork, but it would not be considered fair to use an entire musical track on a spoof video. Not-for-profit bodies and educational establishments will no longer need permission to reproduce work in an accessible format to enable a disabled person to enjoy it, unless an accessible format is already commercially available on reasonable terms. Consumers will be able to copy content, such as CDs, books or films they have purchased from one device onto another without infringing copyright, but it will still be against the law for consumers to make copies for friends or family, or to make a copy of something they do not own. These changes will come into force in June 2014. 

Author(s): 
Liz Hill