Press release

Government takes important step towards modernising copyright

Changes updating UK copyright law for the digital age progress as government publish final exceptions to copyright regulations.

Changes to bring UK copyright law up to date for the digital age have taken an important step forward today (27 March 2014), as the government publishes the final Exceptions to Copyright regulations for consideration by Parliament.

The changes make small but important reforms to UK copyright law and aim to end the current situation where minor and reasonable acts of copying which benefit consumers, society and the economy are unlawful. They also remove a range of unnecessary rules and regulations from the statute book in line with the government’s aim to reduce regulation.

The government has consulted extensively on these changes and on the draft legislation, and listened carefully to the views of a wide range of stakeholders. As a result of this process, the legislation published today strikes an important balance between enabling reasonable use of copyright material in the modern age with minimal impact on copyright owners.

A series of eight targeted guides about what the changes mean for different sectors have also been published. The guides are for groups including teachers, researchers, librarians, disability groups, artists, photographers, rights-holding groups and consumers, and explain what users can and cannot do with copyright material.

The regulations will now be debated in both Houses of Parliament. If the regulations are approved they will come into force on 1 June 2014.

Notes to editors

  1. Professor Hargreaves’ 2011 report, Digital Opportunity: An Independent Review of IP and Growth, included Exceptions to Copyright as part of a series of recommendations for UK Copyright reform.
  2. The government published a full response to its copyright consultation in December 2011 and responded in Modernising Copyright: A Modern, Robust and Flexible Framework in December 2012, outlining its broad plans for policy reform.
  3. The government took the additional step of completing a technical review of draft Exceptions to Copyright regulations between June and September 2013. The full response to this technical review has been published today (27 March 2014).
  4. The five statutory instruments published today are:
    • The Copyright and Rights in Performances (Personal Copies for Private Use) Regulations 2014
    • The Copyright and Rights in Performances (Quotation and Parody) Regulations 2014 - including Parody, Caricature or Pastiche
    • The Copyright and Rights in Performances (Disability) Regulations 2014
    • The Copyright and Rights in Performances (Research, Education, Libraries and Archives) Regulations 2014
    • The Copyright (Public Administration) Regulations 2014
  5. Explanatory notes to the regulations, as well as the government’s full response to the technical review, impact assessments and all supporting documentation are available via the changes to copyright law and guidance pages of the IPO website.
  6. The Statutory Instruments laid by the government today are subject to affirmative resolution and must be debated by both Houses.