UK copyright reform

On June 1, 2014, new laws that amendments the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act regarding copyright and research and education came into effect in the UK. The amendments concern The text of the laws may be read here. The UK Intellectual Property Office has written some easy-to-read explanations of the new laws here.

The sections of the laws that most concern language resources are those dealing with text and data analysis for non-commercial research and additional laws for the recording of broadcasts. These are listed, with notes, below. The amendments in full concern:

  • Research, private study and text and data analysis for non-commercial research
  • Illustration for instruction
  • Recording by educational establishments of broadcasts
  • Copying and use of extracts of works by educational establishments
  • Libraries and educational establishments etc: making works available through dedicated terminals
  • Copying by librarians: supply of single copies to other libraries
  • Copying by librarians etc: replacement copies of works
  • Copying by librarians: single copies of published works
  • Copying by librarians or archivists: single copies of unpublished works
  • Recordings of folksongs
  • Recording of broadcasts for archival purposes

Text and data analysis for non-commercial research

The text of the law most relevant to language resources reads:

“29A Copies for text and data analysis for non-commercial research

(1) The making of a copy of a work by a person who has lawful access to the work does not infringe copyright in the work provided that—

(a)the copy is made in order that a person who has lawful access to the work may carry out a computational analysis of anything recorded in the work for the sole purpose of research for a non-commercial purpose, and

(b)the copy is accompanied by a sufficient acknowledgement (unless this would be impossible for reasons of practicality or otherwise).

(2) Where a copy of a work has been made under this section, copyright in the work is infringed if

(a) the copy is transferred to any other person, except where the transfer is authorised by the copyright owner, or

(b)the copy is used for any purpose other than that mentioned in subsection


(5) To the extent that a term of a contract purports to prevent or restrict the making of a copy which, by virtue of this section, would not infringe copyright, that term is unenforceable.” (emphasis added)


Text and data analysis for non-commercial research - Notes

  • Lawful access may be conditioned by the terms of use or other contractual agreements set by the rights holder (See Hargreaves, Guibault, etc., 2014). But, publishers will not be able to enforce contract terms that prevent or unreasonably restrict text and data mining. If researchers have a right to read a copyrighted document under the terms of the licensing agreement with the provider, they must be permitted to copy the work for the purpose of non-commercial TDM.
  • "Lawful access" is open to interpretation in the future.
  • Note that sharing the copy with other people is prohibited. For language resources, this would seem to mean that the copy must reside on one computer, while only the output of the computational analysis may be shared.
  • Note that commercial purposes are not covered by the law.
  • Note that the law requires "sufficient acknowledgement", but if it is impractical to acknowledge every work in a large-scale analysis, a researcher could, for example, refer to the database in which the work was obtained.

Recording of broadcasts

Language resources often deal with broadcast data, and the new UK law adds language that includes (emphasis added):

(1) A recording of a broadcast, or a copy of such a recording, may be made by or on behalf of an educational establishment for the educational purposes of that establishment without infringing copyright in the broadcast, or in any work included in it, provided that

(a) the educational purposes are non-commercial, and

(b) the recording or copy is accompanied by a sufficient acknowledgement (unless this would be impossible for reasons of practicality or otherwise).

(2) Copyright is not infringed where a recording of a broadcast or a copy of such a recording, made under subsection (1), is communicated by or on behalf of the educational establishment to its pupils or staff for the non-commercial educational purposes of that establishment.

(3) Subsection (2) only applies to a communication received outside the premises of the establishment if that communication is made by means of a secure electronic network accessible only by the establishment’s pupils and staff.

(4) Acts which would otherwise be permitted by this section are not permitted if, or to the extent that, licences are available authorising the acts in question and the educational establishment responsible for those acts knew or ought to have been aware of that fact.

Links and sources

  • Intellectual Property Office. "Exceptions to copyright: research." March 2014. Link.
  • Ian Hargreaves, "Digital Opportunity: A Review of Intellectual Property and Growth". May 2011. Link.
  • "Modernising Copyright: A modern, robust and flexible framework; Government response to consultation on copyright exceptions and clarifying copyright law." December 2012. Link.
  • Ian Hargreaves, Lucie Guibault, etc. "Standardisation in the area of innovation and technological development, notably in the field of Text and Data Mining Report from the Expert Group." 2014. Link.
  • Naomi Korn, Benjamin White. "Breakthrough in copyright law reform confirmed." May 2014. Link.

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