Consultation on copyright

The Libraries and Archives Copyright Alliance’s response to the Intellectual Property Office’s consultation on amendments to UK copyright law.

(March 2012)


In December 2011 the Government launched a consultation seeking views on its proposals for implementing a number of the recommendations relating to copyright that had been accepted in its response to the Hargreaves Review of Intellectual Property and Growth.

Several of the proposals would provide significant benefits to librarians. These include an orphan works licensing scheme and an extension of statutory exceptions. It is also suggested that such exceptions should not be overridden by the terms of licences, as is often the case currently.

LACA’s response

  • Welcomes the recognition of the need to give attention to the problem of orphan works.
  • Supports proposals for Extended Collective Licensing and Codes of Conduct for Collecting Societies.
  • Endorses proposals to make it easier to preserve creative content held in permanent collections by widening the existing preservation exception and extending it to cover all types of copyright work.
  • Endorses the proposal to extend section 29 of the 1988 Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to include films, sound recordings and broadcasts.
  • Strongly supports the introduction of an exception for text and data mining for non-commercial research.
  • Calls for all print disabled learners to be placed on an equal legal footing, with a right to have information provided in an accessible format, as required under Section 20 Clause 6 of the Equality Act.
  • Welcomes proposals for a provision to protect copyright exceptions from override by contract.

Government’s response

On 2 July 2012, the Government published a policy statement on modernising copyright licensing in light of the consultation that stated its intention to legislate to:

  • Allow schemes to be introduced for the commercial and non-commercial use of “orphan” copyright works and voluntary extended collective licensing of copyright works. The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill, which was going through Parliament, provided an opportunity and the Government laid amendments to introduce these measures in the Committee Stage of the Bill. The Bill was passed in April 2013.
  • Create a backstop power to require collecting societies to adopt codes of conduct based on minimum standards.  

In December 2012 the Government published the final part of its response, “Modernising Copyright: a modern, robust and flexible framework”, which sets out its decisions on changes to the framework for copyright exceptions.