Answered By: Monique Ritchie
Last Updated: 24 Aug, 2015     Views: 93

Quoting from any type of third party copyright work without having to ask permission from the copyright owner may be possible in certain circumstances.

The relevant exception in the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (amended 2014) is S.30 Criticism, review, quotation and news reporting. Under this exception, quoting from any type of work is allowed for criticism and review of a work, a related work, or a performance of the work provided:

  • the source is properly acknowledged, for example, by using quotation marks and referencing the source appropriately, unless this is impracticable;
  • the original work has been made lawfully available to the public;
  • the use of the quotation is fair dealing (i.e. insubstantial and does not harm the rights owner's interests or right to profit from the work);
  • the amount quoted is no more than is specifically required for the purpose

Quotations can be used in scholarly publishing, theses and dissertations, and other provided they meet all the above criteria, without the need to seek permission from the copyright owner, as S.30 (1ZA) expands the use of quotations from criticism or review to other purposes.

Making a work available to the the public is defined in S.30 (1A). This includes issuing, renting, lending or communicating copies to the public, performing or displaying the work in public or any other means. Therefore any work which is open to public consultation, even by appointment e.g. in special collections or archives would count as having been made available to the public, provided it has been made lawfully available.

The terms of the exception apply, irrespective of any contract which limits or restricts acts permitted by the exception.

The wording of the exceptions is currently available via an unofficial illustrative draft until the government has completed the amendment of the official legislative text following amendments to copyright law made in 2014. See the links below.

Guidance from the Intellectual Property Office (IPO)  may also be useful. Quotation is specifically mentioned in Exceptions to copyright: research, pg. 11.( See Changes to copyright law). Quoting from images is recognised by the IPO as being a particular issue. While S.30 does not exclude images, the IPO guidance suggests that it is unlikely that you can quote from an image, as images are often wholly reproduced. Therefore, permission is often required and recommended for images.

See also the guidance on fair dealing below.