UK brings in new exceptions for private copying, quotation and format shifting

November 2014

All areas


Revisions to the UK’s copyright law means that consumers can now make back up copies of CDs, MP3s, DVDs, Blu-rays and e-books on local storage or in the cloud – but only of their own copies. The exception to copyright is for personal use, it must be non commercial, and it remains an offence to share the data with friends or family – and the exception does not extend to computer programmes.  It’s still not allowed to circumvent any copy protection on music, movies and ebooks. Recording of streaming media is also forbidden along with making copies of movies or music consumers have rented or borrowed

There is a second new exception for quotation that permits the use of a quotation from the work (whether for criticism or review or otherwise) provided that the work has been made available to the public, the use of the quotation is fair dealing with the work, the extent of the quotation is no more than is required by the specific purpose for which it is used, and the quotation is accompanied by a sufficient acknowledgement (unless this would be impossible for reasons of practicality or otherwise).

The change to the law also allows for parody of copyright works. Within hours of the new exception coming into force, Cassette Boy had produced a two minute mash up of a  ‘speech’ by UK Prime Minister David Cameron using hundreds of video clips of the Prime Minister taken from TV programmes, with the Prime Minister ‘rapping’ over the music from Eminem’s seminal tune, and 8 Mile soundtrack, Lose Yourself. It’s amusing if you like that sort of thing – and mocking too!


The United Kingdom’s Intellectual Property Office’s March 2014 guidance on the new exceptions explains that fair dealing with a work for the purposes of caricature, parody or pastiche does not infringe copyright in the work, and has this to say:

The words “caricature, parody or pastiche” have their ordinary dictionary meanings. In broad terms, parody imitates a work for humorous or satirical effect, commenting on the original work, its subject, author, style, or some other target. Pastiche is a musical or other composition made up of selections from various sources or one that imitates the style of another artist or period. A caricature portrays its subject in a simplified or exaggerated way, which may be insulting or complimentary and may serve a political purpose or be solely for entertainment.




It is important to understand, however, that this change in the law only permits use for the purposes of caricature, parody, or pastiche to the extent that it is “fair dealing.” Fair dealing allows you only to make use of a limited, moderate amount of someone else’s work


The recent decision of the CJEU in C-201/13 Johan Deckmyn and Vrijheidsfonds VZW v Helena Vandersteen and Others went some way to explaining how the InfoSoc Directive exception for the purpose of caricature, parody or pastiche should be applied in Europe:  The Court of Justice for the European Union noted that ‘parody’ must be defined in accordance with its usual meaning in everyday language and also found that a parody need not display an original character of its own, other than that of displaying noticeable differences with respect to the original work parodied saying “the only, and essential, characteristics of parody are, on the one hand, to evoke an existing work while being noticeably different from it and, on the other, to constitute an expression of humour or mockery. In addition The CJEU also held that that the application of the exception for parody must strike a fair balance between, on the one hand, the interests and rights of authors and other rights holders and, on the other, the freedom of expression of the person who wishes to rely on that exception: the media release at the time explained “If a parody conveys a discriminatory message, a person holding rights in the parodied work may demand that that work should not be associated with that message”. It is for national courts to balance interests.

The changes came into force on October 1st 2014 and the Minister for Intellectual Property, Baroness Neville-Rolfe said “These changes are going to bring our IP [intellectual property] laws into the 21st century,” adding “They will mean that the UK IP regime will now be responsive to the modern business environment and more flexible for consumers.” and


Cassette Boy here: (contains swearing) and Key of Awesome’s One Direction parody  – with 35 million plus hits

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