Copyright—permitted acts and defences
Copyright—permitted acts and defences

The following IP guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Copyright—permitted acts and defences
  • Personal copying for private use
  • Fair dealing
  • Temporary copies and incidental inclusion
  • Linking between websites and framing
  • Education and libraries
  • People with any impairment
  • Public administration
  • Computer programs
  • Designs—design documents and models
  • more

There are a number of specific exceptions to copyright infringement, the majority of which are laid down by the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 (CDPA 1988). These are known as permitted acts. The permitted acts which apply to copyright are numerous with many also applying to protected rights in databases. If other causes of action apply such as a claim for breach of confidence then the permitted act exception will not extend to the breach of confidence claim. Permitted acts can be relied on for criminal offences as well as in civil proceedings.

The aim of having permitted acts is to allow, if certain conditions are met, public interest to overrule the private interests of the copyright owner. The Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works (the Berne Convention) is an international agreement that provides for copyright exceptions to the reproduction right in certain special cases. Article 9 of the Berne Convention contains the so called Berne three-step test:

'It shall be a matter for legislation in the countries of the Union to permit the reproduction of such works in certain special cases (step 1), provided that such reproduction does not conflict with a normal exploitation of the work (step 2) and does not unreasonably prejudice the legitimate interests of the author (step 3).'

Later international agreements have applied the