This guidance covers the impacts on UK right holders, businesses, cultural heritage institutions and consumers. It is not legal advice.
The UK has left the EU and the transition period after Brexit comes to an end this year.
This page tells you what you'll need to do from 1 January 2021. It will be updated if anything changes.
You can also read about the transition period.
This guidance sets out how UK copyright law will change from 1 January 2021, subject to any changes under the future UK-EU relationship. It is not legal advice. You should get legal advice where you have specific questions relating to the law.
Copyright is a national right that each country provides separately. However, copyright is largely harmonised internationally by a number of treaties and, in the EU, by a body of EU copyright legislation that builds on the international treaties.
A substantial part of UK copyright law is derived from the EU copyright framework. Because of this, there are references in UK law to the EU, the EEA, and member states. Some of these references occur in the UK’s implementation of EU cross-border copyright arrangements. These arrangements apply only within the EU and EEA and provide reciprocal protections and benefits between member states.
To address these issues, we introduced the Intellectual Property (Copyright and Related Rights) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019(Intellectual Property (Copyright and Related Rights) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019) under the powers of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018.
These regulations remove or correct references to the EU, EEA, or member states in UK copyright legislation to preserve the effect of UK law where possible.
The reciprocal cross-border arrangements will be amended or brought to an end, as appropriate. The regulations are due to come into force on 1 January 2021. During the transition period, the EU and UK will negotiate a new relationship. Depending on the outcome of these negotiations, these regulations may be amended.
Protection of UK copyright works in the EU
Most UK copyright works (such as books, films and music) will still be protected in the EU and the UK because of the UK’s participation in the international treaties on copyright.
For the same reason, EU copyright works will continue to be protected in the UK. This applies to works made before and after 1 January 2021.
Copyright clearance in satellite broadcasting
Read guidance about changes to copyright clearance in satellite broadcasting.
Sui generis database rights
Read guidance on changes to sui generis database rights.
Portability of online content services
Read separate guidance on cross-border portability of online content services.
Orphan works copyright exception
Read guidance for cultural heritage institutions about orphan works copyright.
Accessible format copies of copyright works
Read guidance about access to copyright works for people with visual impairments.
Collective rights management
Read guidance about collective rights management in the UK and EEA.
Artist’s resale right
Artist’s resale rights entitle creators of artistic works to a royalty payment each time their works are sold by an art market professional. Under the EU Resale Right Directive, nationals of EU Member States and third countries that provide resale rights on a reciprocal basis are eligible for the right in the EU.
The UK has implemented the Resale Right Directive through the Artist’s Resale Right Regulations 2006. These regulations will be amended to reflect the UK’s position outside the EU, while continuing to provide the right to foreign nationals on a reciprocal basis.
Nationals of the UK and other countries that provide reciprocal treatment for UK nationals (including EU member states) will continue to receive resale rights in the UK from 1 January 2021. This is in accordance with the Berne Convention. No changes are being made to the calculation of royalty payments.
Cable retransmissions of works
When a copyright work is broadcast between EEA member states and retransmitted by cable in the receiving member state, the copyright holder can only exercise their rights through a collective management organisation. The UK applies this rule to cable retransmissions of broadcasts from any other EEA member state.
From 1 January 2021, member states may no longer apply this rule to broadcasts originating in the UK.
Copyright holders whose works are broadcast from the UK and retransmitted via cable in the EEA:
- may need to negotiate licences with the cable operator directly
- could see statutory licensing terms imposed on the cable retransmission of their works in EEA states
UK legislation will continue to apply existing rules to cable retransmissions of broadcasts originating in an EEA member state.
Qualification for copyright
Works that are currently eligible for copyright in the UK will continue to be eligible from 1 January 2021.
Works are eligible for copyright protection in the UK if they are:
- made by a national of the UK, EEA or any country that is party to the international copyright treaties
- first published or transmitted in the UK, EEA or any country that is party to the international copyright treaties
References to the EEA will be removed from UK law. This will not stop EEA works qualifying for copyright, because all EEA states are party to the international treaties.
Copyright duration in the UK for works from the UK, EEA, or other countries will not change from 1 January 2021.
Currently, EEA works are given the same copyright duration in the UK as UK works. For works from outside the EEA, copyright lasts for the term granted in the country-of-origin or the term granted to UK works, whichever is less.
References to the EEA will be removed from UK law in this area so that duration for EEA works is calculated in the same way as for non-EEA works. Because copyright duration is equal across the UK and the EEA, there will be no immediate impact on copyright duration in the UK.
Use of EU satellite decoders
Read guidance about satellite decoder cards intended for EU audiences.