Limitations and exceptions to Copyright – recent developments

Certain protected works (i.e. work which are protected under copyright law) can be used without authorization of the proprietor and/or without licence. The purpose of these limitations and exceptions is to balance a user’s right to access the material and the creator’s right to protect his/her works.

The UK Government in 2010 reviewed this area of Intellectual Property law and the new rules have recently come into force on the 1/6/2014 focusing particularly on:

• Making digital preservation of sound and film lawful

• Extending ‘fair dealing’ for non-commercial research and private study to allow the copying of sound and film, including the facilitation of copying by a librarian or curator

• Allowing the digitization of the Library’s analogue collections to be used on dedicated computer terminals on the Library’s own premises

• Allowing Text and Data Mining for non-commercial research purposes

• Allowing the Library and its users to apply UK copyright limitations and exceptions, irrespective of contracts with publishers and suppliers.


The above changes are expected to boost the UK economy to £250 million over the next few years and have a positive impact on the academic and research community amongst others allowing for increased research into areas such as medicine and technology.

Other groups which are said to be benefiting according to

• disabled people and disability groups can now make accessible copies of copyright material (eg, music, film, books) when no commercial alternative exists

• researchers will benefit from the introduction of the new text and data mining exception for non-commercial research, as well as the reforms to existing exceptions that will enable limited copying of all types of copyright works for non-commercial research and private study

• schools, colleges and universities can now use copyright material on interactive whiteboards and in presentations, and as long as they have a licence, they will not need to worry about accidentally infringing copyright

• libraries, archives and museums will now be better able to protect our cultural heritage and preserve their collections. The existing preservation exception has been expanded to cover all types of copyright work, and now applies to museums and galleries as well as libraries and archives. Removing the barriers to preservation will save cultural institutions up to £26 million per year

• public bodies can now publish online the material they hold for public inspection, reducing costs and administrative burden of having to issue paper copies or requiring people to come to their offices.


A wider study commissioned by the European Commission has recently issued a report “Assessing the economic impacts of adapting certain limitations and exceptions to copyright and related rights in the EU” following an increase in technological advances, which can be viewed here

share this Article

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on whatsapp
Share on email

Recent Articles