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2014 changes to copyright law and implications for teaching and learning

On 1st June and 1st October 2014 several notable amendments to the 1988 Copyright, Designs and Patents Act (CDPA) came into force in UK law. Following the Hargreaves Review in 2011, the Government have tried to update copyright laws to better suit the digital environment. Copyright law contains a number of exceptions; these exceptions allow limited use of copyright material in certain circumstances without the need to gain the permission of the rights holder. Some new exceptions to copyright have been introduced which may have an impact on anyone copying for the following purposes: 

  • for non-commercial research and private study
  • for education / instruction purposes
  • for making of personal copies
  • for criticism, review or quotation purposes
  • for parody, caricature and pastiche.
  • for copying for persons with disabilities
  • for text and data mining purposes
  • or if you are a librarian or archivist.

Here's a summary of the key changes affecting teaching, learning, and research: 

Copying for non-commercial research / private study

Researchers and students are allowed to copy limited extracts of works for non-commercial research and private study. This includes text, images, sound and video recordings. One can now copy without needing to check a licence agreement (e.g. for an electronic resource) but the amount is limited by fair dealing and must be sufficiently acknowledged/attributed.

A new exception has been added to this part of the law, Section 29A Text and Data Analysis, which also allows text and data mining technologies to be used for the purposes of non-commercial research. You must have lawful access to the resource e.g. via a personal or institutional subscription, however this new provision allows text or data mining for non-commercial research.

Copying for the purposes of education / instruction

Copying for instruction

The law previously said that you could copy for the purposes of instruction provided a reprographic process [e.g. photocopying or scanning] was not used. This restriction has now been removed from the law. For lecturers, this exception now allows the copying of a small amount of material where necessary to illustrate a teaching point. This includes material for examination purposes. The exception covers music and video as well as text-based material. Lecturers may show material on interactive whiteboards or on the VLE but must include sufficient acknowledgement. Also, this exception is subject to fair dealing which means it's restricted to a small amount proportion of the work and must illustrate a teaching point. What constitutes 'fair' is subject to judgement so, for example, some copyright advisors recommend the use low resolution images or making material available only for a limited amount of time. However, it's best practice to use copyright free images or those licensed under Creative Commons for use in teaching, if possible. 

Multiple copying for teaching purposes

If you wish to include extracts of published content on Moodle or distribute course packs or photocopies to students, staff will still need to comply with the Copyright Licensing Agency’s (CLA) Licence. This means the procedures for scanning still need to be undertaken by library staff to ensure material is covered by the Licence and is reported to the CLA.

Section 36 of the CDPA covers copying and use of extracts of works by educational establishments and this exception allows up to 5% of a work to be copied in a year across an institution. However, this section states that where a licensing scheme exists then that will take precedence over the exception, which means most photocopying and scanning of published material must still be undertaken under the CLA Licence. The CLA Licence (from 2016) permits up to 10% or one chapter of a publication to be copied (whichever is the greater) which is actually more generous than the 5% allowance of S.36 exception (remember that scanning under the CLA licence must be carried out by the Digitisation service). It might be possible to copy content excluded from the CLA Licence (by the publisher) under this exception, but because the limit applies across the institution teaching staff should not rely on this exception to include extracts of copyright works on Moodle. Please contact library@mmu.ac.uk if you have queries about this. 

Copying of broadcasts

Copyright law allows the recording of broadcasts by educational establishments for their own educational purposes provided that the recording is accompanied by sufficient acknowledgement (unless this would be impossible). The new exception enables institutions to provide staff and students off-campus access to recordings of broadcasts via a secure network. This means that recordings can be mounted on Moodle and watched off-campus.

This exception only applies where the broadcast is not covered by a licence that the institution should have known about, therefore staff wishing to use recorded broadcasts will need to comply with the Educational Recording Agency (ERA) Licence when recording broadcasts from ERA members (BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5) although many of these are now available via Manchester Metropolitan University's subscription to the Box of Broadcasts service.

Copying for persons with disabilities

Accessible copies of a copyright work can be made for a disabled person if it is for private use and the work being copied is inaccessible to them without adaptation. Previously, copying to make an accessible version of copyright material was permitted only for persons with a visual impairment however this has been extended to cover all types of disabilities. It also covers all formats of works including films and sound recordings and contract terms will not override the exception. However this exception will only apply where an accessible copy is not available commercially at a reasonable cost - so if there is an accessible version available to purchase, we must do that.

Copying by libraries and archives

A librarian can copy a reasonable proportion of a published work for staff or students as long as the user provides a copyright declaration form confirming the use is purely non-commercial. Whole or part of unpublished works can be copied under similar restrictions, except where this has been prohibited by the rights holder.

Copyright law allows libraries to make and supply a copy of a published work to another library ("Library Privilege") where permission cannot reasonably be obtained. It also allows an institution to make replacement or preservation copies of a work which is part of its permanent collection provided it is not reasonably practicable to purchase a copy.

In addition, educational establishments may make works available via dedicated terminals on the premises as long as the work, or a copy, has been lawfully acquired, is made available for research and private study only and is communicated in compliance with any relevant licence.

Criticism, review and quotation

This fair dealing exception permits the use of a quotation from the work for the purpose of criticism and review provided that the work has been made available to the public.

In order for the exception to apply, the copying of the work must be truly connected with review and criticism and not used purely for illustrative or enhancement purposes. The extent of the quotation must be no more than is required by the specific purpose for which is used, and it must be accompanied by sufficient acknowledgement (unless impossible on the grounds of practicality or otherwise). 

Caricature, parody and pastiche

This new fair dealing exception has been introduced to allow use of copyright work for the purposes of caricature, parody and pastiche without permission from the copyright owner. However, the use of the work must be considered "fair".

Text and data mining

Text and data mining is the use of an automated technique to analyse text and data to discern patterns or trends. It will usually require copying of the work to carry this out. This exception enables UK researchers to copy a work in order to analyse it using text and data mining technologies. The exception applies where the analysis is for the purpose of non-commercial research. When using this exception, you must already have lawful access to the particular copyright work; for example, where a subscription to a journal is required to access a work then this will still be necessary. Otherwise, you will need to purchase material yourself. This exception cannot be overriden by a contract from a publisher or content provider.

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