British Universities Film & Video Council

moving image and sound, knowledge and access

Government response on copyright exceptions

Government response to consultation on copyright exceptions

Modernising Copyright: A modern, robust and flexible framework

Many BUFVC members and associates will be aware that the Government has been engaged in a long process of consultation to consider amending UK copyright law with a view to modernising and streamlining the legislation to support further growth in the creative industries.  The consultation has been long-winded but the Intellectual Property office has met its target to deliver this 56 page document (downloadable from before Christmas 2012.  There must now be a certain sense of relief among the officers of the IPO.  Exceptions to copyright, and their careful/controlled use, are essential to the work of teachers, learners and scholars so the recommendations within this document could have a significant impact on our community.

The response covers key issues in a manner that appears, upon first reading, to be quite helpful to educational interests and rights holders alike.  The Summary of ‘What the Government Will Do’ appears on page 16 – and there are more detailed statements on pages 19, 25, 28, 31, 34, 37,40, 43, 45, 47, 48, and 51.  Any changes the government plans to make must operate under the framework of EU law.

In the short time the document has been available we have noted some of the key proposals which might affect education and use of moving image and sound:

•  the Government will, where it is able to by law, ensure that ‘permitted acts’ cannot be undermined or waived by contract (currently terms of contract override exceptions)

•  individuals owning content, such as CD recordings, may in future be permitted to format shift to another medium for personal use

•  new provisions will allow sound recordings, films and broadcasts to be copied for non-commercial research and private study

•   off-air recording of broadcasts by educational establishments will continue to be subject to licensing and delivery of content at a distance via secure networks shall be permitted

•  the definition of ‘educational establishment’ will remain unchanged

•  libraries, archives, museums and galleries will be permitted to copy works in their collections for the purposes of preservation

•  the process of ‘designating’ archives to hold broadcast content shall be simplified

•  the IPO will, in future, issue ‘Notices’ of guidance to clarify confusion, but these Notices shall not be statutory

There is undoubtedly going to be considerable debate on these and other issues leading up to implementation.  The devil, inevitably, will be in the detail as plans are crystallised.

For further information on copyright please also visit JISC Legal or get hold of a BUFVC guide to copyright!

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