UK Copyright Laws Reviewed

  Mark5001 14:31 05 Nov 10
Locked
  johndrew 14:36 05 Nov 10

"He said the law could be relaxed to allow greater use of copyright material without the owner's permission."

I wonder if this will apply to bank notes - they are after all subject to copyright rules!!!!!!!!! :-)))

  wids001 15:09 05 Nov 10

Not before time. The copyright laws in this country are not fit for 21st century technology.

  Forum Editor 16:55 05 Nov 10

and thinks that this means freedom to copy anything they like, or freedom to download copyright-protected music and films without paying had better think again - that's not what the government is planning.

The idea, and it's a good one, is to relax those aspects of the copyright act which are no longer workable in today's largely on-line society.

The 'greater use of copyright material without the owner's consent' remark relates to the silly situation that arises in cases of parody, and also to the 'fair use' definitions that are contained in section 107 of the American copyright law. For those who are interested, section 107 defines fair use as:

"The quotation of excerpts in a review or criticism for purposes of illustration or comment

quotation of short passages in a scholarly or technical work, for illustration or clarification of the author’s observations.

Use in a parody of some of the content of the work parodied.

Summary of an address or article, with brief quotations, in a news report.

Reproduction by a library of a portion of a work to replace part of a damaged copy.

Reproduction by a teacher or student of a small part of a work to illustrate a lesson.

Reproduction of a work in legislative or judicial proceedings or reports.

Incidental and fortuitous reproduction, in a newsreel or broadcast, of a work located in the scene of an event being reported.”

That last definition means that a TV film crew isn't going to be stung for a copyright breach if it happens to broadcast a page in a book whilst filming in a library.

  Mark5001 21:54 05 Nov 10

"Anyone who gets all excited,and thinks that this means freedom to copy anything they like, or freedom to download copyright-protected music and films without paying had better think again - that's not what the government is planning."

We know that fact already. I would just like to back up my DVD/CD collection legally so I don't damage the expensive originals.

On the subject of copyright, is my quoting you a copyright breach? Your sentence is copyright FE or am I wrong? However every word you used was invented/created by someone long ago in the past, copyright, whoever. Do we ask permission to use their words in songs or books. No! Probably sounds strange, but it's something I have wondered about for a long time. So if I copyright a song I have written that contains, for example the word love, then none of you are allowed to use that word again. Ever!!

  Forum Editor 23:51 05 Nov 10

I have written that contains, for example the word love, then none of you are allowed to use that word again. Ever!!"

You're not understanding the meaning of copyright.

First of all you don't copyright your song - copyright exists automatically, the moment your song is first published. There are no forms to fill in, or registrations to make, you own the copyright in your 'original work' without having to do anything.

Secondly, it's not the individual words that are protected by copyright, it's the 'original work' itself. That means a song, a play, a book, an article in a magazine etc. An original work can also be a painting, a sculpture, or a photograph. If you create it, you own the copyright in it. Jot many people realise that with photographs it's the photographer who owns the copyright in the image, and not the subject (if that's a person). If you engage me to take photographs of your wedding the images belong to me, not you, unless we have agreed otherwise.

Everything I write here, in the forum, is protected by copyright, and in this case that copyright is vested in the magazine, it's not mine, because I have agreed that the magazine has copyright on my posts. You have agreed to that as well, it's one of the conditions attached to registering with us. The magazine has copyright in your posts too.

As far as backing up your DVD/CD collection is concerned, go ahead and do it - the copyright holders will not come knocking on your door. What you are doing is simply archiving the film or music that you paid for, and as long as you stick to making personal copies there will be no trouble. What you mustn't do is make copies to sell, or even to give to your friends.

Remember, you can't have copyright in individual words. When you combine words to make a song, or write a book for publication that's when copyright comes into existence.

  Forum Editor 08:58 06 Nov 10

that in this country what America refers to as 'fair use' is called 'fair dealing', and under the terms of the UK Copyright, Designs and Patents Act there are specific circumstances in which it's OK to use part of a copyright-protected work.

These are:

1. Research and private study.
2. Instruction or examination.
3. Criticism or review.
4. News reporting
5. Incidental inclusion (in a TV broadcast for instance)
6. Accessibility for someone who is visually impaired.

In the case of a TV news broadcast you may not include a photograph without the copyright holder's consent.

  Forum Editor 09:14 06 Nov 10

that you can quote up to 100 words from a copyright work and assume you have the owner's permission"

That's not strictly true, although it will hold good where books are concerned. Try to copy 100 words of a 300 word article in a magazine however, or 100 words from a 200 word poem, and you might find yourself faced with an infringement claim.

Copyright in government publications is subject to what's called 'Crown copyright', and it applies to all material written by Crown employees in the course of their work. Crown copyright runs for 125 years from the date of first publication, and you may not publish any document that's protected in this way unless you have applied for and obtained a Crown copyright licence.

The government recognises that we might all want to quote from, or reproduce government documents however, so there's something called an 'Open government licence'. Broadly speaking this enables us all to copy and publish information from any government document, provided we comply with some basic terms and conditions, and provided the document concerned carries an open government licence notice. We don't have to ask for permission or fill in any forms - we can just go ahead and copy.

  morddwyd 09:50 06 Nov 10

"As far as backing up your DVD/CD collection is concerned, go ahead and do it - the copyright holders will not come knocking on your door"

But it is still technically a breach of copyright and against the law I think, unless specific permission has been given, like some software does.

"There's an accepted convention in publishing"

Conventions have no legal standing until tested in court.

This review is about changing the law, which might make some conventionally accepted practices legal, but until it does, they are still breaches of copyright.

  Mark5001 16:01 06 Nov 10

Well that very much clears things up - for me anyway. FE thanks for the enlightenment.

  Forum Editor 17:22 06 Nov 10

"..it is still technically a breach of copyright and against the law I think."

That was true of the 1988 copyright act.

However the UK Copyright, designs and patents act 1998 contains a specific provision that allows you to make a backup copy of software, provided it is for your personal archival use, and provided that if you dispose of the software at some future date, you destroy the backup copy.

Section 117 of the American copyright law contains a similar provision.

It is still illegal to circumvent any specific provision that has been put in place by the publisher of copyright protected works in order to make a copy.

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