Intellectual property – guidance

Technological protection measures (TPMs) complaints process

What to do where a TPM prevents you from benefiting from a copyright exception.


Notice of complaint to the Secretary of State

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Technological Protection Measures (TPMs) (also known as copy protection measures or DRM) are often used to protect copyright works, for example, through encryption on DVDs. TPMs can have a important role in enabling copyright owners (rightsholders) to offer content to consumers in different ways, as well as protecting against unlawful copying (piracy). EU and UK law protects the right of copyright owners to use TPMs to protect their works, and circumvention of such technology is illegal.

However, use of TPMs could potentially prevent activities that are permitted by copyright exceptions. More information is available on copyright exceptions.The law therefore provides for a complaints process that aims to ensure that a TPM does not unreasonably prevent people from benefiting from an exception. The guidance on this page gives information on when and how someone may make a complaint, other steps that they should consider and some of the factors that may influence the outcome of a complaint.