Fair use and copyright in the UK – how different is it? (comment call)

There’s a fabulous post over at the Center for Social Media on when using copyrighted material in video comes under fair use. If the work is ‘transformative’ then there’s a strong case for fair use. Examples include:

  1. Adding satirical subtitles, fan tributes, parody, critique
  2. Using copyright material for illustration of example (e.g. stages in a star’s career)
  3. Accidental capture – e.g. music playing in the background while someone dances (if unstaged)
  4. Documenting an event or experience, e.g. presence at a concert
  5. Mashups, remixes or collages that create new meaning from old material

But of course this is all under American law. My question is: how far do these same examples go under UK law? I’d love to know your experiences and interpretations.


8 thoughts on “Fair use and copyright in the UK – how different is it? (comment call)

  1. Matthew

    The UK has fair dealing, with specific situations – nothing more is allowed, unlike the concept of fair use in the US. Wikipedia is quite clear on the topic: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyright_law_of_the_United_Kingdom#Fair_dealing_and_other_exceptions and the Act itself is quite readable: http://www.statutelaw.gov.uk/content.aspx?ActiveTextDocId=2250297

    So to answer your bullet points, and IANAL:
    1. critique is allowed by section 30, but nothing else is. Parody was explicitly mentioned by the Gowers Review as something that should be allowed but currently isn’t, but nothing has been done AFAIK (see also copying a CD you’ve bought to your computer still being technically illegal).
    2. I can’t see anything about this been covered by an exemption. Happy to be shown wrong, though.
    3. Incidential inclusion is covered by section 31 (but background music is not covered if it’s deliberately included).
    4. Reviews are covered by section 30.
    5. I imagine all such would not be covered.

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  3. Danny Stevens

    These rules seem to have been updated for the advent of internet to some degree but still seem somewhat print media centric. For example what counts as a master copy for a blog entry? Also, acknowledgement is mentioned but I would like to see something requiring a link to the source if the source is online. Even printed acknowledgements should include such a link.

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