Major Changes to Copyright On the Way!

Major Changes to Copyright On the Way!


The Government has announced major changes in Copyright to make it fitter for the digital age - including some important changes for learning, teaching and schools.

The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) has published the government's intentions for 'modernising copyright' in a document, aptly called Modernising Copyright. It details many changes including some to the fundamental Education Exceptions to Copyright which are to be enacted through secondary legistalion by October 2013.

The NEN welcomes these changes - they reflect many of the recommendations in it's NEN response to the Copyright Review - to make 'copyright' fit for purpose in today's 21st century schools and helping learninmg and teaching be more effective and achieved a little more easily.

Changes announced include:

  • Format shifting - moving data from one platform/device to another for personal or study purposes will be permitted.
  • Copyright Exceptions for education will be 'media neutral' - they will encompass all media - films, music, etc - not just text-based media.
  • Teachers will be permitted to use materials within the Excetions for teaching to 'illustrate' their teaching.
  • The Exceptions will cover VLEs and insitutionally managed authenticated services.
  • There are a number of new measures to assist archives and libraries perform their work of supporting learning and teaching in the digital age.
  • Further measures to support 'Disability' are also being introduced.

Some other measures - those on 'Orphan works' and those to improve the services provided by Licence organsiations ('Collecting Societies') - are being dealt with through the ERR Bill (Enterprise & Regulatory Reform Bill) which is currently passing through the Lords. Following on the CLA's announcement of it's licence being paid by DFE for maintained schools in England for the next three years, there will be a number of changes as to how these sort of licences - CLA, ERA, PRS, PPL, etc - are managed for schools in the future.

Copyright of course remains and other people's materials are theirs and should be respected in the same way as we should care for copyright when it appleis to our own activities and outcomes - whether as learner, teacher, parent/guardian or school.

These are of course just the headlines and the NEN is continuing to consider the implications for schools and is involved in some of the discussions. NEN will be following the progress of the implementation of the new measures and will provide regular information for schools through the year.

WHAT HAPPENED PRTEVIOUSLY? - The UK Review of Copyright 2011-12.

The final consultation on UK Copyright- including Education Exceptions and Personal Study - has been published by the UK IP Office. This is a major opportunity for the schools and education sector to make its needs known and help effect useful cahnge for all learners. The NEN is developing it's responses. The consultation closes 21st March 2012.  Links to the Consultation documents on the UK IP Office website are at foot of this article.

The Independent Review of Intellectual Property and Copyright in the UK by Professor Ian Hargreaves was initiated by the Prime Minster in June 2010. The government accepted all 10 of its recommendations for further consultation and development with enactment by parliament envisaged in 2012.

The NEN responded to the consultation emphasising that in its view:

  • Copyright, in its current form, could be a barrier to learning and teaching in the digital age
  • The current framework of 'Fair Dealing' and 'Exceptions' needed updating
  • Technological advances and their use meant that it is inevitable that copyright would have to become platform and medium 'neutral'
  • US 'Fair Use' provided a more coherent framework for teaching about copyright and IP

The Review was published on 18th May 2011 under the title 'Digital Opportunity - a Review of Intellectual Property and Growth' and, if it is implemented, it could have, important effects for learning, teaching and management in school education.

Amongst the recommendations are:

  • Permit format shifting for 'personal use'.
  • Permit use of copyright material for parody - You Tube videos.
  • Extend exceptions for library archiving to cover audio-visual works.
  • Permit data analytics and mining for non-commercial research.
  • Setting up a Digital Copyright Exchange to help manage copyright more effectively and faster in the UK helping 'smaller' users as well as large organisations.
  • Requiring collecting societies (including those that provide blanket licences for schools) to work to a common framework
  • Ensuring that licences and contracts for use do not "over-ride" the exceptions permitted under the UK Act.
  • Permitting the use of 'orphan works' (in-copyright material for which the owner cannot be identified or found.)
  • Developing a catch-all 'exception' at EU level to take account of new, as yet unknown 'technologies' and 'applications'

The Review also deals with other areas of Intellectual Property such as Patents and Design Rights. Further recommendations support business and enterprise, involvement with EU and World initiaitives and a proposed extension of the work of the UK IP Office which includes some additional support for education.


Final Consultation on proposals to change the UK's copyright system 2011, UK IP Office. Intro and links a to all the documents UK IP Office December 2011.

The Hargreaves Review: 'Digital Opportunity', UK IP Office, June 2011.

NEN response to 'The Review of Intellectual Property and Growth', consultation, March 2011.

Longer article about The Hargreaves Review and what it might mean for Schools, July 2011

Article added 15th March 2011; updated July 2011, October 2011 and January 2012.