Fair Dealing, Licenses, and Usage Moodle Book

Fair Dealing

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Fair dealing is a type of exemption that allows the usage of copyrighted materials in certain circumstances. These circumstances include Educational uses, Libraries and Archives, Anthologies, performances and educational establishments recording broadcasts or copying and using extracts. This exemption is afforded by Sections 29,30 and 30A of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (as amended).

In order for the exemption to be applied to you, one must show that one of four situations apply:

  • The usage is for research (non-commercial) or private study (Section 178)

This encompasses all types of research or private study as long as it is non-commercial. Any research that may be used for commercial purposes in the future may also be excluded. Third party copying in situations of research assistant and researcher are covered in come circumstances.

  • For criticism or review (Section 30(1))

In order for copying to fall into this category, it must legitimately be done for criticism or review. The work copied must have been previously available to the public, and there must be an acknowledgement of the original work.

  • For the purpose of reporting current events (Section 30(2))

In order for something to be seen as a current event, the event must be contemporaneous. Older events may also fall into the category if they are still being discussed. Naturally, events regarding national importance, sports, global importance, and similar can and will into this category.

  • Parody, caricature and pastiche (Section 30A)

This category generally uses the ordinary meaning of these words to illustrate what is and isn't considered acceptable. The use need not be positive or negative as there is no stipulation on the type, however this does not exempt the individual copying from libel or slander. 

Once your usage falls into one of the above three categories, it must then be "fair".

Fairness is subjective and takes into account the entire picture when it comes to usage. This includes but is not limited to the method of acquisition, the length of time, the amount of material copied and the scale of copies made.

For example, illegally downloading a Science Fiction film, and then showing it to your colleagues or students for an end of term party/event on campus would not be fair use. This is because the film is recreational as does not fall into any of the three categories. Furthermore, it was downloaded illegally, and then broadcast to a group of individuals. Being on campus does not automatically give immunity to situations and make them for research purposes. In addition, all the individuals watching the film would be partaking in secondary infringement.

Computer programs are also included in fair dealing situations as they are considered a literary work. Therefore, having a backup copy of a program for the lawful use of the program owner is considered fair dealing – this is why it’s not considered copying or infringing when individuals have back up drives of their computers or documents.

Fair dealings in essence, is a sort of “get out of jail free card”. Providing you follow the rules, you are able to utilise or consume copyright protected materials.  The burden of proof to show that any usage of copyright protected materials as "fair" under the Statute is on the user.