Defences for Copyright Infringement

Introduction to Defences for Copyright infringement

“The Business law permits various acts to be carried out with defences for copyright infringement works despite the subsistence of copyright. There are several important permitted acts when it comes to copyright. Many of which only apply in very specific circumstances and are of limited relevance”.

In this guide we will discuss about the defences to copyright infringement uk.

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What is Included?

  • Introduction to Defences for Copyright infringement
  • Fair dealing
  • Artistic works on public display
  • Licensing
  • Educational   
  • Disability
  • Databases
  • Incidental inclusion

Fair dealing

Copyright infringement work is allowed without the permission of the copyright owner in certain circumstances. The court uses the approach of ascertaining whether the infringer’s act falls within the statutory purpose. If it is within the purpose, they will still need to see that the copying did not go any further than necessary to comprise fair dealing.

Some of the fair dealing exceptions include for research or private study, the purpose for research must be non-commercial, for criticism, quotation, or review, for reporting of news or current events any work can be used, except photographs. One important thing to remember is that sufficient acknowledgement to the creator must be made. When it comes to research, it should be a non-commercial purpose unless this is impossible for reasons of practicality or otherwise.

Sufficient acknowledgement is how to defend copyright infringement, by its title or other description, and the author, unless the work is published anonymously or the unpublished work in respect of which it is not possible to ascertain the identity of the author by reasonable inquiry.

Defences for copyright infringement
Defences for copyright infringement

Artistic works on public display

The general provision here is that making graphic or photographic images, broadcasts, or films of buildings so on is not an infringement of any copyright. This applies to things for patent assist advice which can be seen in public places or premises open to the public or permanently sited. For instance, billboard advertisements, one will not be infringing with such images because they are in public display. It is also important to remember that this same provision protects further publication or copying of images or representations of those things.


The copying has been done with the consent of the copyright holder because the defendant has a licence. This could be an express or implied licence from the circumstances of the case. A licence might be implied if it were necessary to give a business the effectiveness it needs but only to the minimum extent necessary.


This can be used as a defences to copyright infringement has been for purposes of instruction and examination. The work must not be for commercial purposes and the author must be given sufficient acknowledgement. It is a defence even where the whole body is recorded, played, performed, or copied.


A disabled person, charity organisations and educational institutions can make format copies of protected work on behalf of disabled people. This is to make it easily accessible in a format that they can get the material. It also helps them enjoy the work the same way someone without a disability would.

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It is not an infringement of copyright in a database for a licensed user of the database to carry out acts in the exercise of that right that are necessary to gain access to, and use of, the contents of that database. These acts are permitted regardless of any term in the user’s licence that purports to prohibit the relevant acts.

Incidental inclusion

Copyright in a work is not infringed if it is incidentally included in an artistic work, sound recording, film, or broadcast. The issue to the public of copies, or the playing, showing or communication to the public, of anything whose making was permitted. However, one will be infringing if they deliberately included a musical work or lyrics or elements of a sound recording or broadcast in another work.

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