Copyright Infringement and the ‘Fair Dealing’ defence

In simple terms copyright is infringed if a copyright owners work is copied or adapted without consent, according to the UK legislation, the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 (CDPA), there are a number of defences for the use of a work subject to copyright without consent from the owner. This article considers some practical examples of the Fair Dealing defence in relation to the following:

Reporting current events

s30(2) of the CDPA permits all works (with the exception of photographs) to be used for the purpose of reporting current events i.e. a news report on the BBC news. There must be an acknowledgement if the report is in a newspaper or magazine, conversely there is no requirement for an acknowledgement to be given if the report is on the television or radio however in practice acknowledgements are usually given. Whether the use of such works are considered fair and fall within the defence depend on the amount of the copyright work reproduced and the purposes for which it is reproduced.

Private study and research

 s29 of the CDPA provides a defence for the use of a copyright work for the purposes of research or private study, a practical example of this defence may be illustrated by a university lecturer taking copies of a book in preparation of a lecture.

Criticism and review

In line with s30(1) of the CDPA, an example of this defence may be illustrated by the publication of a book review utilising extracts from a book, in order to fall within the exception the review must not simply duplicate extracts from the book, it must evaluate the contents of a book, the Publishers Association also lays down guidelines on how much of book may be quoted to fall within this exception.

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