Copyright Laws in Scotland, UK

  • Primarily the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, Section One
  • UK Copyright law was harmonised with EU Copyright law (as of March 2021)
  • UK Copyright law goes back to 1886 with the signing of the Berne Convention

Copyright Basics

Copyright protection on original works is to protect the commercial and capitalistic rights of the copyright owner

In the UK there is no need to register for copyright with the IPO (Intellectual Property Office) – which is primarily for trademarks and inventions.

UK copyright applies to original artistic work

Copyright expires with very few exceptions:
– The King James Bible – The Crown retains Perpetual Copyrights

Copyright Principals

Commercial Leverage

Copyright means that you cannot copy, reproduce or distribute a piece of work without the prior authorisation of the copyright holder – this is so they can maximise their primary right to leverage the commercial value of their work for financial gain – that is to be compensated for the creation of, and profit from their work.

Creative Control

•At this point it needs to be said that Copyright law within the UK doesn’t just control the requirement for remuneration, but the second primary principal is the control of that work. The owner of a work, the copyright holder, has the right to perform, show, or play in public their work, to broadcast them through whatever means they choose – be that a book (online or in print), or a play, or a piece of music. It allows them to adapt the material, including through editing, revisions of it or through translating their work.

Audio & Music Copyright

In Podcasting it is advisable to ONLY use:

  • Creative Commons Audio & Music
  • Public Domain Music & Audio
  • or Audio & Music you have created.

The only times you should copyrighted Audio or Music is when you have:

  • Written permission from the copyright holder
  • or your use of the music and/or audio falls under ‘Fair Dealings’ (‘Fair Use’ out-with the United Kingdom)

Fair Dealings

‘Fair Dealings’ as it is legally known in the United Kingdom, covers the usage of copyright material under four categories:

  • For Research or Private Study (this will rarely be applicable to podcasters and podcasting)
  • For Criticism, Review or News Reporting (this will be the most common reason you will be using or seeing the use of copyright material in podcasting)
  • Caricature, parody or pastiche (Whilst lawful, be Careful, even “Weird Al” Yankovic used to get written permission; and there have been cases where ‘caricature and parody’ were not enough to prevent against claims of copyright infringement and defamation)
  • Incidental Inclusion (possibly, but try not to!)

For Criticism, Review or News Reporting

The writers and journalists at Empire Magazine can report on movies, critique and review them – the BBC ‘Film [insert year]’ can use clips – because they are using them to talk about the movie in the context of reviewing it (free advertisement for a movie). You should explicitly mention your use of the clips if this is what you are doing – that you will now review ‘FILM NAME’ or ‘MUSIC ARTIST – SONG NAME’

In the case of news reporting it is generally when reporting on the wider aspect of the artist or for comment on the individual piece of music – during the 24 hour coverage of the death of Witney Houston (2012) – Sky News used ‘I look to you’ from her most recent non-compilation album (and its associated music video) multiple times – not for commercial or entertainment purposes, but as an illustration of the artists and their life’s work. It was also at this time that I was working at a radio station, and had announced four hours before her death than my Valentine’s day show would feature Witney Houston as the focus artist… that became a tribute/biographical show. It is likely that Sky News Paid for the Rights to use the music under a Broadcast License, as does Radio.

Caricature, Parody or Pastiche

•The use of or reproduction of copyrighted works in comedic settings is okay – such as rewriting the lyrics to Celine Dion’s My Heart Will Go On – For we all know that it really says ‘My hotdog’s go on’ – as long as it is clearly for comedic, parody or pastiche (imitation) – for example the song ‘I’m the only gay Eskimo’, both comedic (though less so in today’s social context) and pastiche as it performs part of the song in different styles – notably Bob Dylan. The issue of using copyrighted works in this way is when it crosses the line from comedic caricature and parody into defamation (depending on where you are based).

Incidental Inclusion

•When filming for TV or recording for radio, typically, in perhaps a public setting, such as town square and one of the local TV shops plays Dido’s ‘White Flag’ a little too loudly on MTV which is picked up by the filming and/or recording – then this is an incidental inclusion and is exempt from copyright claims, as it was unintentional (incidental) and not the primary focus of the filming or recording.

Accidental usage here, where the editor just can’t clear that lyric and music of Dido’s dulcet tones belting out ‘But I will go down with this ship’ are not copyright breaches, after all accidents happen.

It’s not like you’ve deliberately stuck P!nk on the CD player whilst recording a diatribe on Donald Trump for your six YouTube followers, as though P!nk’s CD is some kind of backing track.