U.K.'s copyright law is being changed to allow you to make personal copies of media (CDs, ebooks etc) you have bought, for private purposes such as format shifting or backup. For example it is not currently legal to copy content that you have bought on a CD onto your MP3 player. The changes will update copyright law to make this legal, as long as you own what you are copying, e.g. a music album, and the copy you make is for your own private use.
The changes will mean that you will be able to copy a book or film you have purchased for one device onto another without infringing copyright. However, it will still be illegal to make copies for friends or family, or to make a copy of something you do not own or have acquired illegally, without the copyright owner?s permission. So you will not be able to make copies of CDs for your friends, to copy CDs borrowed from friends, or to copy videos illegally downloaded from file-sharing websites.
You will be permitted to make personal copies to any device that you own, or a personal online storage medium, such as a private cloud. However, it will be illegal to give other people access to the copies you have made, including, for example, by allowing a friend to access your personal cloud storage.
The exception will apply to any copies you have bought, other than computer programs. So, for example, it will allow you to format shift an ebook you have bought from one device to another. Of course, media such as DVDs are protected by a technology which physically prevents copying. Media such as DVDs are often protected by anti-copying technology to guard against copyright piracy, and this is protected by law. Copyright owners will still be able to apply this protection, which is typically easy to be bypassed. However, if copy protection is still too restrictive for you, you may raise a complaint with the Secretary of State.
In addition, the new law allows quotations of copyrigthed content to be used more widely without infringing copyright, as long as the use is fair (in law, the use must be a "fair dealing") and the source of the quotation is acknowledged. It is ultimately for the courts to determine whether use of a quotation is fair dealing.
Currently, anyone wishing to use other people's copyright material for the purposes of caricature, parody or pastiche (such as a parody video on YouTube), must have the permission of the rights holder. Copyright law is changing to allow limited uses of copyright material for the purposes of caricature, parody or pastiche, without having to obtain the permission of the rights holder. However, only "minor uses" are permitted and it must be considered "fair and reasonable", otherwise you must seek permission from the rights holder.
"Fair dealing" is a legal term used to establish whether a use of copyright material is lawful or whether it infringes copyright. There is no statutory definition of fair dealing - it will always be a matter of fact, degree and impression in each case. The question to be asked is: how would a fair-minded and honest person have dealt with the work?
Factors that have been identified by the courts as relevant in determining whether a particular dealing with a work is fair, include:
- Does using the work affect the market for the original work? If a use of a work acts as a substitute for it, causing the owner to lose revenue, then it is not likely to be fair.
- Is the amount of the work taken reasonable and appropriate? Was it necessary to use the amount that was taken? Usually only part of a work may be used.