New exceptions to copyright laws

01 Oct 2014
From 1 October 2014, new exceptions allow limited use of copyright works without needing to obtain permission from the copyright holder:

Parodies - clips of copyright material can now be used without consent in a 'parody, caricature or pastiche' provided the use is fair and doesn't compete with the original. In considering whether the use is 'fair' courts will take into account the relevant facts, the extent of use (only limited and moderate use is likely to be allowed) and the impression of use. In recent case law, the ECJ has stated that owners of the works will still be able to sue for breach of copyright if the parody conveys a discriminatory message.

Given the increasing use of clips and excerpts online, it is perhaps natural that further legislation will be needed to govern an area which is ripe for abuse. The relaxation of usage restrictions regarding parodies is useful but care does need to be taken when using clips to ensure the use does not descend into anything discriminatory or harmful. We therefore recommend legal advice is still taken before using copyright work in parodies.

Private use - individuals can now make copies of 'permanent' versions of copyright works which they have lawfully and permanently acquired provided it is for personal (private, non-commercial) use. This effectively legitimises common practices such as cloud storage and 'ripping' of CDs. Note that making a private copy of a computer program is still prohibited. The exception has restrictions - for example requirement of permanence may prevent copying of streamed content.