Welcoming the Government’s Modernising Copyright Report

This morning Vince Cable announced the publication of the Government’s response to the many copyright consultations that have been taking place since August 2011 when the Government declared their support for the recommendations proposed by Professor Hargreaves in his Independent Review of IP and Growth.

The report entitled “Modernising Copyright: A modern, robust and flexible framework” is an extremely strong one addressing many of the concerns put by rights holders during the extensive consultation period, while proposing a number of measures that seek to adapt the UK’s strong but rigid framework for copyright into one that is modern, robust and flexible – suitable for a digital age.

Measures proposed aim to make sure that copyright makes the greatest possible contribution to UK economic growth and to our society, and also meet consumers reasonable expectations. These measures compliment the elements of the Enterprise and Regulatory Bill currently in Parliament that deal with other proposals from Hargreaves including orphan works and the regulation of copyright collecting societies.

Coadec’s response;

We are delighted that the Government has now announced their plans for modernising copyright. These measures will help to provide certainty for digital entrepreneurs working with copyright and rights holders alike. The report comes after an exhaustive 16 month period of consultation and the strength of the argument for reform shines through.

Sara Kelly, Executive Director of Coadec


Todays report will amend and increase the number and scope of permitted acts in a number of ways including the following.

  • Private copying to be permitted onto any medium or device people own for personal use, including private online cloud storage.
  • Minor acts of copying for educational purposes permitted if considered “fair”. No general exception for education and licenses still required for reprographic copying.
  • General permission for quotation and news reporting if source is acknowledged and considered “fair dealing”. Photos will continue to be excluded.
  • Government to legislate to allow “limited” copying for parody, caricature and pastiche.
  • Research and private study exception will allow educational institutions to offer works electronically at “dedicated terminals” and on “their premises”.
  • Researchers with lawful access to works will be allowed to make copies for the purpose of analytics (ie Data and Text Mining)
  • Government to allow people with disabilities the right to obtain works in accessible form if not already on the market
  • Archiving and preservation to be permitted if the work is in a permanent collection and cannot be readily replaced.
  • Public bodies are to be allowed to share unpublished and publicly available works.
  • A non-statutory system for clarifying copyright law will be introduced, known as copyright notices. The Intellectual Property Office will deliver this system.

The Government wil publish draft legislation for technical review in 2013 and the intention is for the measures to come into force in October 2013.

Below are some additional key points drawn from the report.

  • The Impact assessments (which were reviewed and validated by Government’s independent Regulatory Policy Committee) suggest measures could contribute over £500m to UK economy over 10 years.
  • The report highlights a study that showed while the UK’s strong framework for exploiting copyright works is ranked only second to the UK, the UK’s system is much less well regarded for being fit for digital technologies than many major competitors (ranked 13th out of 18)
  • It was highlighted how “because of the potential for large damages, even small risks and uncertainties around copyright law may become impossible for investors to bear when added to those associated with new technologies and markets”.
  • It’s stated that ‘the alternative – to neglect the possibility of future benefits – is worse: ignoring known benefits of innovation in aggregate would privilege the status quo against the future best economic outcomes”

Coadec's Executive Director. Sara can be reached at sara [DOT] kelly [AT] coadec [DOT] com or by using the contact details on this website.

Posted in Copyright, Hargreaves Review, Parliament
To keep up to date with the politics that affects you subscribe to the mailing list by entering your email address into the box below