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Copyright law of the United Kingdom

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The current copyright law of the United Kingdom is to be found in the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (the 1988 Act), with later amendments. The 1988 Act came into force on 1 August 1989 for the most part, except for some minor provisions that were brought into force through 1990 and 1991. Various amendments have been made to the original statute, mostly originating from European Union directives.

The modern concept of copyright originated in Britain in 1710 with the Statute of Anne.

Works eligible for protectionEdit

A variety of works qualify for protection under the 1988 Act and different copyright term lengths apply for each type of work. The types of work eligible for protection are literary, dramatic, artistic or musical works, the typographical arrangement of a published edition, a sound recording, a film or a broadcast. Films made before 1 June 1957, when the Copyright Act 1956 (the 1956 Act) came into force are not protected as a film. They are either protected as a dramatic work or as a series of photographs. Broadcasts made before 1 June 1957 were also not protected. In the 1988 Act, separate provision was made for material distributed by cable television providers as a copyright for cable programmes. This ran for the same term as a broadcast. However protection for cable programmes did not subsist until 1 January 1985. Later amendments rolled the concept of a cable programme into the definition of a broadcast.

Qualification for protectionEdit

Normal copyright works, except broadcasts, qualify for protection by means of two routes. One is the author of the work, and the other is the country of first publication. The work qualifies for protection if its author is:

  1. A British citizen, British dependent territories citizen, a British National (Overseas), a British subject or a British protected person or
  2. An individual resident or domiciled in the United Kingdom or another country to which the qualification clause extends or
  3. A body incorporated under the law of a part of the United Kingdom or another country which the qualification clause extends.

The work qualifies for protection if its first publication took place:

  1. In the United Kingdom or
  2. In another country which the qualification clause extends.

It should be noted that works made before 1 June 1957 when the 1956 Act came into force only qualify for copyright protection by country of publication.

A broadcast qualifies for protection if:

  1. It is made from the United Kingdom or
  2. It is made from another country to which the qualification clause extends.

Lists of countries which trigger qualification by the various clauses are made by Statutory Instrument (SI) periodically as needed by changes in the accession status of countries to treaties like the Berne Convention.

Some works do not qualify for protection under the criteria above. Government material qualifies for either Crown copyright or Parliamentary copyright protection or protection as an Act or Measure. Prior to the 1988 Act, Crown copyright also covered what is now Parliamentary copyright material; bills in Parliament and the various devolved assemblies; and Acts and Measures. Works of certain international organisations also qualify for protection via a separate clause. Lists of the international organisations that qualify are promulgated by SI in the same way as the lists of countries that the ordinary qualification clauses are distributed. Organisations specified include the United Nations, Specialised Agencies of the United Nations and the Organisation of American States. Qualification conditions for Crown copyright for works made after the commencement of the 1988 Act mean that a work qualifies for protection if it was made by the monarch or an officer of the Crown in the course of their duties. Qualification conditions for Crown copyright protection under the 1956 Act and the Copyright Act 1911 (the 1911 Act) were somewhat different, but works that were Crown copyright protected upon commencement of the 1988 Act remain protected until the expiry of their term. Parliamentary copyright applies to works made under the direction or control of either house of Parliament. Acts and Measures are defined as Acts of Parliament, Acts of the Scottish Parliament, Acts of the Northern Ireland Assembly or Measures of the General Synod of the Church of England.

Term of protectionEdit

The length of copyright protection for works is a potential minefield in international law. Applying it to purely national law is also extremely difficult in some circumstances. Each of the types of works eligible for protection under the 1988 Act has a different term of protection, further complicated by the amending legislation to the Act. Copyright protection always expires at the end of the calendar year concerned.

Crown copyright, Parliamentary copyright and copyright of international organisationsEdit

Within the United Kingdom, the term of protection offered by Crown copyright, Parliamentary copyright, copyright of Acts and Measures and that of international organisations is separate from that of ordinary copyright works. Copyright in a bill in Parliament, the Scottish Parliament or the Northern Ireland Assembly subsists from the moment a bill is introduced into the legislature to the moment it either fails to pass or receives Royal Assent. The copyright of Acts and Measures subsists from Royal Assent until 50 years later. Parliamentary copyright of a literary, musical or dramatic work subsists until 50 years after the making of the work. Crown copyright of published literary, dramatic or musical works expires 50 years after publication. Crown copyright of unpublished works expires the later of 125 years from creation or 31 December 2039. The latter provision is a transitional measure from the 1988 Act because that Act abolished perpetual copyright protection for unpublished materials. It is 50 years after the commencement of the 1988 Act plus the usual for expiration extension to the end of the year.

Crown copyright for artistic works is more complicated and is entangled in special treatment given to engravings and photographs. For artistic works made after the commencement of the 1988 Act, the rule is the same as for other works, 50 years after publication or 125 years after creation. An engraving created before commencement and published after commencement is in copyright for 50 years after publication. Copyright of an engraving created before commencement and unpublished expires at the end of 2039. Photographs taken between 1 June 1957 and commencement and published expire 50 years after publication. Photographs taken between 1 June 1957 and commencement and unpublished expire at the end of 2039. Photographs taken before 1 June 1957 expire 50 years after creation. Copyright of international organisations subsists for 50 years from creation.

Copyright of ordinary materialsEdit

Of ordinary works, copyright in typographical arrangements is easiest to consider. It subsists for 25 years from publication of an edition.

Other copyright durations can be dependent on the country of origin of the work if the work was made after 31 December 1995. Country of origin as applied to a broadcast is the country that the transmission originates from. Country of origin for other works is determined by what country the work was first published or simultaneously published in. First publication is defined as the first time that a work is published anywhere. Simultaneous publication is defined as publication in a place where first publication did not take place, but within 30 days of first publication. So, if a work is first published in the United Kingdom and United States, but is also published in Canada, Australia and New Zealand within 30 days of being published in the UK and US, all those countries are treated as possible candidates for the country of origin of the work.

If a work is first published in only one place, which is also a party to the Berne Convention, then that place is automatically the country of origin. If a work is published simultaneously in a European Economic Area (EEA) country then the EEA country is considered the country of origin. If the work is not published simultaneously in an EEA country, and is published simultaneously in two or more places, a Berne Convention country automatically trumps any non-Berne Convention country. If two or more Berne Convention countries qualify and all the qualifying Berne Convention members are not in the EEA (for example Canada, the United States and Australia), the Berne Convention country with the shortest applicable copyright term determines the copyright term in the UK, provided that said term does not exceed what would be granted anyway under UK law. If the country of first publication is not a Berne Convention member or the work is unpublished the terms vary depending on what type of work it is. If the work is a film and the maker of the film is headquartered in a Berne convention country, or the maker of the film is domiciled or resident in a Berne Convention country, then the country of origin is said country. If the work is a work of architecture in a Berne convention country or an artistic work incorporated in a building in a Berne Convention country, then the country of origin is that country. Otherwise the country of origin is the country of which the author is a national.

Copyright in broadcasts subsists for 50 years from the making of the broadcast if the broadcast is made in an EEA country. Otherwise, unless such a duration would be contrary to treaty obligations of the United Kingdom in force on 29 October 1993, the duration is as in the country of origin, unless such a duration would be longer than under UK law.

Copyright in sound recordings expires either 50 years after the recording is made, if the recording is published during that period, 50 years from the publication or if during the initial 50 years the recording is played in public or communicated to the public, 50 years from said communication or playing to the public if the author of the broadcast is an EEA citizen. Otherwise duration under the laws of the country of which the author is a national applies, unless such a duration would be longer than offered in UK law, or be contrary to treaty obligations of the UK in force on 29 October 1993.

Other works vary in copyright term depending on whether those who determine the duration of the copyright are known or not. If those who determine the duration of the copyright are unknown, then copyright expires either 70 years after the making of the work or if during that period the work is communicated to the public, 70 years after that date. It is usual that authors determine the length of copyright. However, the length of copyright of a film is not determined by the author. Copyright in a work expires 70 years after the death of the person or people who determine the length of copyright. Where more than one person determines the length of copyright, the length is determined to be 70 years after the death of the longest lived of those individuals.

Copyright in films protected as such is determined by the life of the principal director, the author of the screenplay, the author of the dialogue and the composer of any original music for the film. Where the author of a film is not an EEA national and the country of origin is not in the EEA then duration applies as in the country of origin, provided it does not exceed UK length. If a film does not have any of the four positions mentioned above, then the duration of its copyright is 50 years.

Copyright in literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works expires 70 years after the death of the author. However, computer generated artistic works have a copyright protection of 50 years from creation. As with other such copyrights, if the author is not an EEA national and the country of origin is not an EEA state, then the duration statutes of the country of origin apply provided it does not exceed UK length.

If an unpublished work was published prior to the 1988 Act coming into force and the author had been dead for more than 50 years, then that work remained in copyright for a period of 50 years dating from its publication, plus a period to the end of the year in question. If an unpublished work was published after the 1988 Act coming into force the author had been dead for more than 50 years then its copyright expires at the end of 2039. Later amendments changed this term to the author dying more than 70 years before. So an unpublished work by an author who died before 1969 published after commencement of the 1988 Act expires at the end of 2039. However if a work by an author who died say in 1870 was published in 1960, its copyright would expire 50 years after 1960, or in 2010.

Publication rightEdit

If copyright in an unpublished work has expired, the first publisher of that work still gets to protect that work to the same extent as copyright, except for a much more limited term. Works that qualify for publication right include literary, dramatic, musical or artistic works or a film. A publication right only subsists if the publisher of the work is an EEA national and the work is first published in an EEA state. However no publication right can be applied to works where Parliamentary or Crown copyrighted subsisted previously. Publication right lasts for 25 years from first publication.

Extension of copyright termEdit

Prior to 1 January 1996, the UK's general copyright term was life of the author plus 50 years. The extension to life of the author plus 70 years was introduced by The Duration of Copyright and Rights in Performances Regulations 1995 (SI 1995/3297); which had the effect of making EU Council Directive No. 93/98/EEC, created to harmonise the duration of copyright across the European Economic Area, law in the UK. It contained a controversial provision which meant that certain copyrights were revived: material that had been in the public domain came back into copyright. The normal practice of British law would have been to freeze the extension of the public domain, rather than reviving copyright. Such retrospective laws are very rarely enacted.

If the 1988 Act offered a shorter term of protection than under the new regulations, if anywhere in the EEA a work was under copyright protection on 1 July 1995, then the copyright of that work was revived. If the 1988 Act offered a longer term than the new regulations, then the old longer term still applied.

Authors and ownership of copyrightEdit

In British law the first owner of a copyright is assumed to be the author of a work. If a work is made by an author in the course of employment then the author's employer is the first owner of copyright. Unlike American copyright law, duration of copyright term does not vary regardless of who owns the copyright.

The author of a work is:

  • The creator of a literary, musical, dramatic or artistic work.
  • The publisher of a published edition of a work.
  • The producer of a sound recording.
  • The producer and principal director of a film.
  • The maker of a broadcast.
  • If a work is computer generated, the person who made the arrangements necessary for the creation of the work.

If more than one person qualifies as an author then a work is one of joint authorship. In that case the permission of all copyright holders is required for acts that would otherwise be an infringement of copyright. It is quite possible for more than one copyright to subsist within a work. For example, if a CD of songs is produced then the following copyrights at the very least must be taken into account:

  • Copyright of the sound recording.
  • Copyright of the sheet music being played on the sound recording.
  • Copyright of any lyrics.
  • Copyright of any cover artwork.
  • Copyright of the text of the insert.
  • Copyright of the typographical arrangement of the insert.

However, it should be noted that before commencement of the 1988 Act, photographs, portraits and engravings that were commissioned and then paid for where the work was made in relation to the commission have different rules for the first ownership of copyright. In general the ownership of copyright of such works is with the commissioner.

Under British copyright law an author may assign copyright rights to another party. It is standard practice that such assignments are made with many book publishing contracts for example. Under the 1911 Act, such assignments reverted to the author's estate 25 years after the death of the author. However, that rule only applies to works made before 1 June 1957.

DatabasesEdit

Under the 1988 Act as amended, databases are considered to be literary works. In databases created before 27 March 1996, copyright rules were the same as for any other literary work, and copyright continues for the whole term. Copyright subsists over the database if and only if the database's creation is the original work of the author. However, beyond the copyright a separate database right exists. Database right subsists if a substantial amount of work was required by the maker of the database to obtain the data in the database, verify the data or present the database's contents. Database right is independent of any copyright upon the contents of a database.

The maker of a database is stipulated to be the person who compiles the database. The maker of a database is the first owner of any database right arising. As with copyright, if an employee makes a database, then the employer is the first owner of any database right. The Crown owns a database right to databases compiled by the monarch or an officer of the Crown in the course of their duties, and databases made under the direction of the Commons and/or Lords have the right assigned to the appropriate chamber of Parliament. If two or more people make a database, then the database right is jointly owned by those people.

Database right does not subsist unless the makers of the database are EEA nationals; resident in an EEA state; are incorporated bodies with their central operations or principal place of business in the EEA and the body has a registered office in an EEA state or the legal entities operations are linked to the economy of an EEA state; or are unincorporated bodies or partnerships with their central operations or principal place of business in the EEA.

Database right lasts for 15 years from the completion of the making of a database. If a database is made available to the public during that period, then the 15 year time resets to 15 years from the time of making available to the public. Any substantial change to a database causes the 15 year period to begin anew as the changed database is regarded as effectively a fresh creation. Therefore in theory databases which regularly undergo substantial changes could enjoy effective perpetual database right protection. If a database was created on or after 1 January 1983, and the database qualified for database right on 1 January 1998, said right runs for 15 years from that date.

Database right in a database is infringed if most or all of a database is extracted and reused without the consent of the owner, or alternatively if small portions of a database are repeatedly extracted and reused without the consent of the owner.[How to reference and link to summary or text]

Fair dealing and other exceptionsEdit

British copyright law has a set of exceptions to copyright known as fair dealing. Database right also has a similar set of exceptions. Fair dealing is much more restricted than the American concept of fair use. It only applies in tightly defined situations, and outside of those situations it is no defence at all against charges of copyright or database right infringement.

s29.—(1) Fair dealing with a literary, dramatic, musical … for the purposes of research for a non-commercial purpose does not infringe any copyright in the work provided it is accompanied by a sufficient acknowledgement …
s30.—(1) Fair dealing with a work for the purpose of criticism or review, of that or another work or of a performance of a work does not infringe any copyright in the work provided that it is accompanied by a sufficient acknowledgement and provided that the work has been made available to the public.

The term "sufficient acknowledgement" is subject to judicial interpretation.

Database right fair dealing applies for the use of databases which have been made available to the public. If a person is a lawful user of database, fair dealing is allowed for the extraction of substantial parts of a database if the substantial part is extracted for teaching or research, not for commercial use and the source of the material is indicated.

Copyright in a database is not infringed if a person with the legal right to use part or all of a database does things necessary to use or access the contents of the database. Such permitted acts which would otherwise infringe copyright in a database are allowed in spite of any licence agreement for the database which purports to restrict such acts. Any licence agreement terms of that type are null and void under British law. Fair dealing for the purposes of private study or non-commercial research also does not infringe copyright in a database.

Copyright fair dealing with a literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work is most often encountered in the context of research or private study. Under the 1988 Act, it was originally the case the any research use was fair dealing. However in late 2003 the 1988 Act was amended to exclude commercial use from the definition of fair dealing. Fair dealing for research should be accompanied by acknowledgement if this is possible. Fair dealing with the typographical arrangement of a work for the use in research or private study is also explicitly enabled.

With computer programs, fair dealing is explicitly excluded for decompilation or copying during decompilation. However, decompilation is allowed to gain information vital to creating an independent program to interact with the decompiled program and provided that the information obtained by decompilation is not used for any other purpose. The observation of programs to determine their functions and the ideas underlying them is explicitly allowed whilst performing the normal functions of a program such as loading and running it. As with database use, any licence agreement terms which purport to restrict this sort of activity are null and void under British law. Backup copies of computer programs are allowed which are necessary for the lawful use of a computer program, and again restrictive licence terms of that type are null and void under British law.

For a long time, the legal position of services such as Internet caches was dubious under British law, with such copies technically being infringing. However, amendment of the law [here] explicitly allows temporary copies of literary works, other than computer programs and databases; dramatic works; artistic works; musical works; typographical arrangements; films or sound recordings if such temporary copies are necessary for a technical process, transient or incidental and only exist for the purpose of transmitting a work across a network between third parties or only exist for a lawful use of the work. That amendment eliminates the awkward position of the caching services of Internet service providers. It is in a similar vein to an exception for the incidental inclusion of a copyright work in an artistic work, sound recording or film. However, deliberate inclusion of a copyright work negates the exception.

Beyond non-commercial research, private study and incidental copying, another common exception to copyright is for criticism, review or news reporting. Fair dealing for the purposes of criticism or review only applies with sufficient acknowledgement and provided that the work being criticised or reviewed has been made available to the public. For news reporting fair dealing does not extend to photographs and acknowledgement is only required where reasons of practicality do not rule this out.

Visually impaired and blind people were granted an exception with the passing of the Copyright (Visually Impaired Persons) Act 2002. Where a lawful copy of a literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work or a published edition is possessed by a visually impaired person, and the lawful copy of the work is not accessible to the visually impaired person, copies of the work can be made such that the copies are accessible to the visually impaired person. However, the making of an accessible copy of a database is not allowed if copyright in a database will be infringed, and musical works cannot be performed to make them accessible. The accessible copy must be accompanied by an acknowledgement and must carry a statement that it was made under the authority of the Copyright (Visually Impaired Persons) Act 2002's amendments to the 1988 Act. Furthermore, if accessible copies are available commercially in a form suitable for the person who the accessible copy would be made for, then the exception does not apply.

The final major exception that the general population commonly runs into is that of recording broadcasts for time shifting. This was brought about by the rise of the video recorder in the early 1980s. The exception only applies to copies for private and domestic use.

Educational establishments, libraries and archives have many exceptions that are applicable only to them that enable them to complete their work. However ordinary people do not usually have to worry about these exceptions in everyday life.

Moral rights, privacy rights and performance rightsEdit

Moral rightsEdit

Moral rights were introduced into British law by the 1988 Act. They come from the tradition of civil law, not from the common law tradition. The 1988 Act introduced moral rights for authors of literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works and the directors of films. The moral rights include the right to be identified as the author or director of a work as appropriate, the right to object to the derogatory treatment of a work and the right to object to false attribution of a work. The rights to object to derogatory treatment and not to be falsely attributed a work operate automatically. However the right to be identified as the author or director of a work must be asserted. Works of joint authorship have separate moral rights for each author. Each author or director must separately assert the right to be identified as the author or director of a work.

Unlike copyright, moral rights may not be assigned to another. However they may be waived. The right to object to false attribution of a work expires 20 years after a person's death. The rights to be identified as director or author and to object to derogatory treatment subsist for as long as the copyright term of the work.

On 1 February 2006 moral rights were extended to cover to performers in qualifying performances. Those rights are the right to be identified and the right to object to derogatory treatment of the performance when that performance is broadcast live or a recording of it played in public. The right to be identified must be asserted, but the right to object to derogatory treatment is automatic. It is an infringement of the right to object to derogatory treatment of a performance to distribute or sell a sound recording that infringes the right to object to derogatory treatment of a performance. The moral rights of performers subsist for the same term as copyright in a sound recording and other performers' rights. Performers' moral rights do not apply to any performance before 1 February 2006. There was strong pressure from performers involved in films for the extension of moral rights to be made to them, but this was not done. The new moral rights will be implemented using secondary legislation under Section 2(2) of the European Communities Act 1972 and this could not have been done had performers in films been covered. To create that right would have required primary legislation.

Privacy rightEdit

The commissioner of photographs or films commissioned for private and domestic use has a right to privacy. That means that such photographs may not be issued to the public, shown in public or communicated to the public without the permission of the person who commissioned the photograph or film. Photographs jointly commissioned entitle all the commissioners to a privacy right. The right to privacy subsists for as long as the copyright term of the work.

Performance rightsEdit

Performance rights were originally included in the 1988 Act. However they have been greatly expanded by amendments to that Act over the years. A performance is defined as a dramatic performance, a musical performance, a reading of a literary work or a variety act. The performers involved in a performance and any person who has recording rights with respect to a performance qualify for performance rights. However a performance must be a qualifying performance for the rights to exist. As with copyright, the criteria for qualification of a performance are based upon nationality of the people involved and the country where the performance takes place. In this context person means a legal entity, not necessarily an individual.

Performers' rights exist if the performer is qualified individual or the performance takes place in a qualified country. The person with recording rights to the performance must have an exclusive contract to record the performance with a view to commercial exploitation of the recordings. The person who holds contract must usually be a qualified person and must be the beneficiary of the contract granting exclusive rights. If the person who holds the contract is not a qualified person, then the holder of the recording may licence a qualifying person to making a recording of the performance with a view to commercial exploitation of the performance. In the latter case the licensee is the holder of the recording rights.

A qualifying country is defined as the United Kingdom, other states in the EEA and other states that are defined as such by Order in Council. A qualifying individual is a citizen of a qualifying country. A qualifying person either a qualified individual or a legal entity that is either formed under UK law or the law of another qualifying country; or has a place of business within the UK or another qualifying country at which a substantial business activity takes place.

The original rights granted to performers in the 1988 Act were threefold. Performers at a qualified performance have the right to demand consent for the recording of that performance and the broadcasting of that performance, except when the recording is for private and domestic use. They also have the right to stop the playing of a performance in public or the communication to the public of that performance. Anyone who imports a recording that has breached performers' rights, except when the importation is for private and domestic use, also further infringes performers' rights. Further rights granted since then include the right to object to copying of the performance, the issuing of copies to the public, rental or lending of copies to the public and making the performance available to the public by electronic transmission at a time and place of the choosing of the public. A right to equitable remuneration from the copyright owner when a commercially published sound recording is played in public or communicated to the public other than by the electronic means referred to earlier was also granted. Failure to agree the rate of remuneration can lead to the dispute being referred to the Copyright Tribunal.

The rights granted to those with exclusive recording contracts have not been expanded since the commencement of the 1988 Act. However, they are relatively extensive. They include the right to object to the recording of a concert, the right to object to the use of a recording by its being shown in public or communicated to the public and the right to prevent imports into the United Kingdom of recordings where recording rights have been otherwise infringed.

As with copyright, a set of exceptions similar to fair dealing exists for performers' rights and recording rights.

Performers' and recording rights subsist for 50 years after a performance takes place, or, if a recording of the performance is released during that period for 50 years from that release. Subject to obligations that the United Kingdom was under on 29 October 1993, the duration of performance rights of non-EEA nationals is that of their home country, provided that such a duration does not exceed the duration in UK law.

Artists' resale rightEdit

On 14 February 2006, a new intellectual property right known as artist's resale right was created in the United Kingdom by regulations made under the European Communities Act 1972. The right subsists for as long as copyright in an artistic work subsists and means that when a qualifying sale is made that the artist who created the work being sold is entitled to a royalty on the sale. The right is not assignable and it cannot be waived. The right can be transferred only intestate or via a will and becomes bona vacantia if no heirs exist.

The right is only exercisable by a qualifying individual or a qualifying body. A qualifying individual is either an EEA national or a national of a country which is defined in Schedule 2 to the order creating the right. A qualifying body is a charity within the United Kingdom or a charity which is based with the EEA or a country defined in Schedule 2 to the order. The right only covers original works or those works where a limited number of copies have been made under the direction of the author. A sale is only regarded as a resale if the price of the work being sold is greater than €1,000 and either the seller or buyer is acting in the capacity of a professional art dealer. There is a saving provision which allows for works purchased directly from the author for under €10,000 within the last three years to not fall under the resale right. The seller is jointly liable to pay the royalty with a relevant person. The relevant person is defined as one or more of the agent of the seller, the agent of the buyer or the buyer where no agents exist. The relevant person must be a professional art dealer in order to be liable to pay the royalty. The holder of resale right on an artistic work has the right to obtain information to enable the payment of the royalty from any professional art dealers involved in the transaction when that request is made within three years of the transaction taking place. Where a sale takes place before 2010 only living authors are eligible for the royalty.

Re-use of public sector informationEdit

Important changes to the licensing of public sector information came into force on 1 July 2005. The Re-use of Public Sector Information Regulations 2005 (the 2005 Regulations) impose a duty on public sector bodies to licence "relevant intellectual property rights" in a non-discriminatory and consistent way. The definition of "relevant intellectual property rights" includes copyright, database right, publication right and rights in performances. It does not include trademarks or patents.

The definition of a public sector body in the 2005 Regulations is set out so that public service broadcasters; educational and research establishments; and cultural establishments are excluded from having to comply with them. So, for example, the BBC, county council libraries and the British universities do not have to comply with the regulations. Some classes of documents are also excluded from the 2005 Regulations. Those include documents the supply of which is outside the public task of the public sector body or where third parties own "relevant intellectual property rights". Further exclusions apply where the document has not been identified by the public sector body as being available for re-use, where it has not been provided to the applicant for re-use or where it is accessible to the applicant for re-use by means other than the various British access to information regimes (for example the Freedom of Information Act 2000).

Applicants for information are required to apply in writing, give a correspondence address, specify the document where re-use is requested and state the purpose of the re-use. The public sector bodies that are covered by the 2005 Regulations are required to respond by the end of the 20th working day after the request is received, thus providing the same length of time as to Freedom of Information Act allows. A response can be a grant of a license, a statement that no decision has been reached along with an estimate of when a decision will be reached or a refusal. Any licenses granted are required to be unrestrictive in the way in which the document can be re-used and with respect to competition. There are also clauses in the 2005 Regulations prohibiting discrimination against applicants and regulating the extent and duration of exclusive licensing agreements.

Public sector bodies are required to publish a list of documents the main documents available for re-use, details of any standard charges which apply to re-use, license terms for re-use and details of the body's complaints procedure. The bodies are required to make such information available electronically where possible, and to make the list of main documents available for re-use electronically searchable as far as is reasonably practicable. The bodies are required to provide the document to the applicant in the format and language it exists in on the date of the application, and where possible and appropriate to provide the document in electronic form.

Charges for licences are required to be standardised so far as reasonably practicable, and bodies must supply the basis for calculation of standard charges when requested by an applicant and the factors to be taken into account in calculating a charge where no standard charge exists. It is specified that total income from charges must not exceed the combined total of the cost of collection, production, reproduction and dissemination of documents and a "reasonable return on investment". The costs of supplying the document are calculated against any charges already paid under information access legislation for equivalent activities.



External linksEdit

Original legislationEdit

Amending Statutory InstrumentsEdit

Instruments extending legislation to British possessionsEdit

Regulations made via Statutory Instrument under ActEdit

Amending actsEdit

Commencement ordersEdit

Copyright length chartsEdit

Commercial servicesEdit

  • UK Copyright Service A private company where copyright owners can lodge copies of their work as evidence of their copyright claim.
  • Protect your work online immediately (This commercial site does not offer copyright, since that does not require any fee or third party service. Rather it offers to retain evidence of an original work).
This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia (view authors).

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