Copyright Exceptions in Parliament

The letter reproduced below was sent on 6 June 2014 by UK Intellectual Property Law Professors to the Parliamentary Scrutiny Committee on Secondary Legislation, addressing (in their view unjustified) concerns about the implementation of new copyright exceptions for Parody and Quotation, and Personal Copying for Private Use. The letter was cited in the House of Commons Grand Committee on 9 July and in the House of Lords on 29 July. The exceptions will now come into force on 1 October 2014.

Update 30 July 2014:
The Copyright Regulations 2014, introducing exceptions for Parody and Quotation, and Personal Copying for Private Use were passed by the House of Lords on 29 July.
Hansard transcript link below, including motion to approve by the new IP Minister, Baroness Neville-Rolfe:

Update 20 July 2014:
On 9 July, the two draft Copyright Regulations were discussed by the Tenth Delegated Legislation Committee, and approved by the House of Commons on 14 July.
Transcript of Committee proceedings, including speech by David Willetts (then Minister for  Universities and Science), here:

There will be a debate and vote in the House of Lords on 29 July 2014.!/calendar/Lords/MainChamber/2014/7/29/events.html

Update 27 June 2014:
The Committee sat on 25 June. The two Statutory Instruments under scrutiny were “not drawn to the special attention of the house”.

Download PDF version of the letter

Letter by UK Intellectual Property Law Professors

Mr George Mudie MP
Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments
House of Parliament

6 June 2014

Dear Mr Mudie

Draft Statutory Instruments on Exceptions to Copyright

We, the undersigned professors of intellectual property, write to convey our regret that the progress of these important instruments has been delayed, and hope to offer the Committee some further help in resolving its concerns. We have seen the letter from the British Copyright Council (BCC) dated May 12 2014 and wish to respond to the legal questions raised at points 2-5 of that letter.  We assume that the first point raised by the BCC, which relates to contractual overrides, is now moot, as Parliament has already recognised the legitimacy of such overrides in two of the three statutory instruments passed in the last session (SI 2014/1372 and 1384).

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Fanfiction: Creators, communities and copyright

In the second of an ongoing series of features, Philippa Warr explores the recent trend of cloned games on mobile platforms and some of the legal and regulatory issues that the phenomenon raises.

Fanfiction: Creators, communities and copyright.

From zombie apocalypses in Merlin to elevator-confined World Wrestling Entertainment fighter romances and Twilight/Meerkat Manor crossover massacres, the online fan community has proven adept at taking characters from books, TV shows, movies and games and using them to create their own content.

Probably the most famous example is fanfiction. The original source material becomes a toolkit for fanfiction authors. Existing characters or locations are put to use in telling new stories which now live in vast online repositories like Some tweak the existing material to better suit the new author – what if a favourite character had lived rather than died? What if a romantic relationship had blossomed between another pair? Others move closer to original fiction, using the familiar setting but adding original characters, storylines and so on.

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Evidence quality in intellectual property research: A comparison with the medical sciences

By Steven J. Watson1, Piers Fleming2, Daniel J. Zizzo3

1 Department of Psychology and CREATe, Lancaster University,
2 School of Psychology and CREATe, University of East Anglia,
3 School of Economics and CREATe, University of East Anglia,

After the publication of our review exploring why people download copyrighted materials unlawfully and the impact of those downloads we were invited to contribute to this blog. This work was part of the RCUK Centre for Copyright and New Business Models in the Creative Economy (CREATe) and one of the paper’s key contributions was to introduce a robust method for appraising evidence from the medical sciences. One of the common themes during the debate following the release of the paper was the difference in the types of evidence available in the medical sciences compared to the IP realm. This blog considers these issues with a focus upon the systematic review process.

Science, Evidence and Errors

The power of the scientific method is that it is self-correcting; we develop models of the world and then test these models empirically. However, the consequences of persisting with suboptimal models are greater in some fields than others, for example, in medical science an incorrect consensus can cost lives. A rigorous method was needed to describe the current body of evidence in a way that could challenge and correct widely held beliefs. Systematic review filled that need. Without systematic review human albumin (a blood product), which had been used in the treatment of blood loss and burns for over 50 years, would still be used today but we now know that it is not just ineffective, but dangerous1. This ability to overturn a practice that had been considered routine for half a century and literally save lives is why in medicine the systematic review is widely considered to be the highest quality of evidence available (see Figure 1).


Figure 1. The pyramid hierarchy of evidence in medicine, with the highest quality evidence for informing action at the top and the less reliable forms of evidence further down the pyramid.

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The song remains the same? – Pop, plagiarism and professional pride

By Dr Adam Behr, Senior Research Associate at the University of East Anglia’s School of Political, Social and International Studies

Jimmy Page with Robert Plant 2 - Led Zeppelin - 1977

Copyright infringement is back in the mainstream news with high-profile stars Katy Perry and Led Zeppelin both facing accusations of theft. I don’t propose to enter into a forensic examination of the merits of these claims or a scrying exercise regarding their potential success or failure. I bring them up because they point towards a couple of features of production practice that are starting to emerge from research on the CREATe project, ‘Digitisation and the Politics of Copying in Popular Music Culture’ and about which I will say more after laying out some of the context.

Copyright is a key point of concern for the music and publishing industries and often focuses on piracy, particularly with regard to digital distribution (notwithstanding that legal streaming services such as Spotify are disrupting the market for legal downloads and look like they may have a similar effect on the illegal variety). But not all copyright infringements – or otherwise problematic instances of copying – revolve around the circulation of the finished product and this post concerns a type of infringement rooted earlier on in the production chain in terms of its legal visibility – during the process of creation, rather than the distribution where piracy tends to reside –namely ‘plagiarism’.

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Project Officer: Digitising the Edwin Morgan Scrapbooks

An opportunity for a Project Officer has arisen within the Library at the University of Glasgow on a CREATe project.

The role is to undertake a rights clearance simulation on selected extracts from the Edwin Morgan scrapbooks for the RCUK-funded project: Copyright and Diligent Search: Digitising the Edwin Morgan Scrapbooks, locating original rights-holders, and negotiating permission to make available their work as part of the digitisation process.

Fuller details (job description, salary, organization chart, how to apply, etc.) are here (Vacancy reference: 008884)

Closing date 10 August 2014.

Posted in CREATe Blog | Leave a comment Updated to Reflect Changes in UK Copyright Law

Post by Bartolomeo Meletti, Lead Producer of [a co-production between CREATe and Bournemouth University] has been updated in light of the changes to UK copyright law made on 1 June 2014. Learning from the difficulties encountered by other initiatives in the field of copyright education, the Copyright User project aims at keeping up with the evolving copyright landscape.

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“Act early and strategically” — highlights from CREATe co-sponsored event for Design industry practitioners.

Up Your IP Seminar - St. Andrews

Credit: Colin Tennant Photography

Act early and strategically — know the value of your Intellectual Property (IP), and the best way to protect it for your advantage.

These were among the pearls of wisdom shared at Up Your IP, a seminar for Design industry practitioners recently in Edinburgh. Organised by ICC and Creative Scotland and co-sponsored by CREATe, the day was the first of a series that aims to improve awareness and action on IP for Creative Industry enterprises. The second event, on September 11 2014, will focus on IP for Theatre organisations, and a third event, on September 25, will address IP for Digital Creatives. In November, the partners will release a suite of guidebooks addressing IP in Scotland’s Creative Industries (for details of the upcoming events and guidebooks, please contact

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Lucas Lixinski’s “Intangible Cultural Heritage in International Law”: A Book Review

The Kelvingrove Review has published a book review of Lucas Lixinski’s “Intangible Cultural Heritage in International Law” in Issue 13, reviewed by CREATe Postgraduate Researcher Megan Rae Blakely.

Intangible Cultural Heritage in International Law by Lucas Lixinski tackles an emerging and highly relevant area of the law, and Lixinski approaches the safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage (ICH) in a highly engaging and analytical manner. ICH, broadly speaking, consists of living cultural practices passed from generation to generation, such as song, dance, traditional craftsmanship and other rituals. Due to the organic and perpetually evolving nature of ICH, legal and definitional challenges at all levels abound prove especially difficult to form legal protections while still allowing for living heritage to thrive.

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New research examines IP status of user-generated contributions to TV production

Audiences have long been able to 'play along at home', but the Internet adds new complexity to interactive TV.

Audiences have long been able to ‘play along at home’, but the Internet adds new complexity to interactive TV.

An article published this week in the Journal of Media Business Studies by authors Todd Green and CREATe research fellow Kris Erickson asks, ‘what happens when user contributions are solicited and used to produce interactive TV?’

The question is a thorny one for a number of reasons, not least because cultural and organisational conditions under which TV is made are often distant from professional legal conceptions of copyright. The authors argue that television production teams operate with at least four sometimes contradictory models of intellectual property in mind: legal, entrepreneurial, financial, and communitarian.

Important copyright considerations abound. User contributions are most often solicited via third-party platforms such as facebook and twitter, which are governed by terms of service agreements. Further, do user contributions meet the threshold of originality required to attract copyright protection? Sometimes input can be as short as an SMS vote, a ‘like’, or a 140-character comment. Other times user contributions can constitute entire plot ideas.

Citing work in interactivity and participatory culture, the authors suggest that TV producers must strike a fine balance when conceiving interactive TV programmes. Adopting an overly restrictive position on copyright ownership may hamper efforts to make audiences feel involved in the co-production of a project. On the other hand, communitarian approaches may lack the means to fully account for and protect the commercial value of intellectual property.

A pre-publication version of the article may be accessed here.


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Copyright liabilities loom for cloud providers in wake of Aereo judgement

News piece by Dr Monica Horten, Visiting Fellow at the London School of Economics & Political Science

A judgement handed down in the US Supreme Court today has underpinned the claim of a group of broadcast companies that royalties were due from a cloud-based service relaying copyrighted content. The ruling also raises a looming threat of new liabilities for the nascent cloud computing industry.

The case of ABC Inc et al vs Aereo Inc, concerned whether or not a cloud service transmitting broadcast television to computer users over the Internet infringes copyright law. In brief, the Supreme Court ruling means that it does, but it is in the detail of the ruling that the cloud liability is implied.

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