Copyright Exceptions

This article details copyright exceptions that enable restricted use of copyright works without the copyright owner’s permission. 

The Big Picture 

You may choose to use someone else’s copyright protected works in addition to your own copyright protected works. There are a few very unique circumstances under which you will be able to do so without the owner’s permission. These can be found in the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988’s copyright pages (as amended). 

Private study and non-commercial analysis 

When using works for non-commercial research or private study, you are entitled to copy small excerpts, but you must be truly researching (like you would if you were taking a college course). Such usage is only allowed if it is “fair dealing,” and copying the whole work will not be considered fair dealing in most cases. 

This exemption was created to enable students and scholars to make restricted copies of all forms of copyright works for non-commercial research and private study. When determining if your use of the work is allowed or not, you must consider whether your use has a financial effect on the copyright owner. When the effect is minimal, it might be appropriate to use. 

If you’re using it for non-commercial analysis, make sure the work you’re reproducing has enough recognition. 

For non-commercial analysis, text and data mining 

Text and data mining is the process of analysing text and data for patterns, trends, and other useful knowledge using automated analytical techniques. Text and data mining almost always necessitates a copy of the work to be examined. 

Researchers may create copies of any copyright content for the purpose of computational analysis if they already have the right to read the work (that is, they have “lawful access” to the work). This exemption only allows copies to be made for the purposes of text and data mining in non-commercial study. To access content, researchers will also need to purchase subscriptions from a variety of outlets, including academic publishers. 

Publishers and service providers may be able to take appropriate steps to ensure the protection and reliability of their networks, but these steps should not preclude or limit researchers’ ability to text and data mine. Contract clauses prohibiting researchers from making copies in order to conduct text and data mining would be void. 

Recent affairs criticism, analysis, and reporting 

For any form of copyright work, fair dealing for criticism, critique, or quotation is permitted. For any form of copyright work other than a video, fair dealing with a work for the purpose of covering current events is permitted. A proper acknowledgment will be needed in each of these cases. 

A image cannot be replicated for the purpose of covering current events, as reported previously. The aim of the law is to prohibit newspapers and magazines from reproducing images that have previously appeared in rival publications for the purpose of covering current events. 


Several exceptions allow for the use of copyright works for educational purposes, including: 

copying of works in any medium as long as the usage is purely to demonstrate an argument, is not done for commercial reasons, is followed by a proper acknowledgment, and is fair dealing. This means that minor uses are permitted, such as displaying a few lines of poetry on an interactive whiteboard, but uses that would jeopardize the selling of teaching materials are not permitted, such as performing, playing, or exhibiting copyright works in a classroom, university, or other educational institution for educational purposes. However, this only happens if the audience is confined to teachers, students, and those who are specifically involved with the establishment’s activities. If there are parents in the crowd, it would not necessarily apply. Showing a video for English or drama lessons, as well as teaching music, are examples of this. If there is no licensing scheme in place, it is impossible to involve the playing of a video during a wet playtime solely to entertain the children recording a TV show or radio broadcast for non-commercial educational purposes in an educational institution. If there is no licensing scheme in effect, a license from the Educational Recording Agency would be issued when making copies on behalf of an educational institution using a photocopier or similar system for the purpose of non-commercial teaching. In most cases, a license from the Copyright Licensing Agency is required. 

Providing assistance to disadvantaged persons 

For the advantage of disabled persons, there are two exceptions to copyright. If you have a physical or mental disability that prohibits you from accessing copyright-protected content, these exceptions apply to you. 

One exemption allows you, or anyone working on your behalf, to make a copy of a legally acquired copyright work if the copy is in a format that makes the content easier to access. For example, if you purchase a book in a store and then make a Braille copy to assist someone with a visual disability, you are not infringing on the book’s copyright. 

On behalf of disabled persons, the second exemption allows educational institutions and charitable organizations to produce, contact, make available, distribute, and lend usable format-copies of protected works. The exemption allows you to do things like: 

For visually disabled persons, make braille, audio, or large-print copies of books, newspapers, or magazines 

For visually disabled individuals, adding audio explanation to films or broadcasts is a good idea. 

subtitling films and broadcasts for the deaf and hard of hearing 

Providing dyslexics with accessible copies of books, newspapers, and magazines 

In order to use the disability exceptions when making or dealing with an accessible copy, certain legal conditions must be met. These prerequisites are as follows: 

Accessible copies of copyright-protected works can only be made from lawfully-accessible copies, and they can only be made by a disabled individual or an authorised entity working on their behalf, and they can only be made for a disabled person’s personal usage. Under these exceptions, accessible copies cannot be made, communicated, made available, circulated, or lent to someone who is not disabled. 

The concept of a “authorised body” outlined in Section 31F CDPA must be met by bodies that create, communicate, make available, distribute, and lend accessible copies. 

An open copy of a copyright work must only modify it to the degree required to move it to an accessible format. 

An accessible copy must be created, communicated, made available, distributed, or lent by an authorised body on a non-profit basis. This means that an authorized body, for example, cannot benefit from the creation and distribution of an accessible copy of a book. 

Additional information on copyright exceptions for disabled persons and amendments to copyright law as a result of the Marrakesh Treaty’s adoption. 


A broadcast may be recorded in a domestic setting for private and domestic use, allowing it to be watched or listened to at a later time. 

Making a television recording for reasons other than time-shifting a program for yourself or your family is likely to be illegal. 

Caricature, parody, and pastiche 

There is an exemption to copyright that allows people to use a limited amount of copyright material for parody, caricature, or pastiche without the owner’s permission. 

For example, in a parody sketch, a comedian might use a few lines from a film or song; in a caricature, a cartoonist might use a well-known artwork or illustration; and in a pastiche artwork, an artist might use small fragments from a variety of films. 

It’s important to note, though, that this exemption only applies to fair dealing when used for caricature, parody, or pastiche. 

Adequate recognition 

When using such exceptions to copy someone else’s work, you must give them enough credit. For example, whether you copied all or a significant portion of a work for the purpose of critique or analysis, or if you used it for news reporting. 

However, where it is impractical to do so for practical reasons, such acknowledgment is not necessary. 

Dealings that are honest 

Certain exceptions occur only if the work is used in a “fair dealing” manner. There are exceptions for academic and private study, criticism or analysis, and news reporting, for example. 

Fair dealing is a legal concept that refers to determining whether or not a use of copyright content is legal or infringes on copyright. Fair dealing has no statutory definition; it is only a question of validity, degree, and impression in each case. The question is: how would a fair-minded and honest person have handled the situation? 

The courts have established the following factors as important in deciding if a particular dealing with a job is fair: 

Is it true that using the work has an effect on the demand for the original work? It is unlikely to be fair if a use of a job serves as a replacement for it, causing the owner to lose money. Is the amount of work taken acceptable and appropriate? Was it appropriate to use the entire amount taken? Just a portion of a job is usually used. 

The relative value of each factor can differ depending on the situation and the form of transaction at hand. 

Measures to safeguard technology 

It’s important to remember that media like DVDs and e-books are often protected by Technological Protection Measures (TPMs) (also known as copy protection measures or DRM) that prevent unauthorized access or copying.

TPMs have the potential to help copyright owners deliver content to customers in a variety of ways while also avoiding piracy. The right of copyright owners to use TPMs to protect their works is protected by EU and UK law, and circumvention of such technology is illegal.

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