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New copyright exceptions now law

View profile for Karen Edwards
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Earlier this year a controversial strapline was briefly adopted by Lidl as a parody of the well known Tesco trade mark ‘Every Little Helps’. The strapline was quickly withdrawn by Lidl but a legacy of its use remains on social media. In this article we explain why new laws which came into force in October failed to help Lidl out.

The new exceptions to copyright protection are in the form of two regulations –

  • The Copyright and Rights in Performances (Quotation and Parody) Regulations 2014
  • The Copyright and Rights in Performances (Personal Copies for Private Use) Regulations 2014

In certain circumstances the new exceptions will allow parties to use copyright material without having to obtain permission from the copyright holder (provided they meet the relevant requirements).

Commercial Solicitor Karen Edwards says, “The new exceptions are: private copying, quotation and parody, caricature and pastiche. Probably the most important of these is the parody, caricature and pastiche. This will allow comedians and others protection from copyright infringement.” The Hargreaves Review which took place in 2011 and looked into UK Copyright, noted that the UK may be at a ‘disadvantage on the world stage’ by not having an exception for works of parody. Exceptions already existed in other countries including France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Canada.

This exception is likely to affect businesses covering a wide area – publishing, entertainment, advertising and retail etc. So, back to Tesco and Lidl – ‘every little helps’ is a registered trade mark and had Lidl persisted with its use of its own sound-alike phrase it could be argued that Lidl took unfair advantage of Tesco’s trade mark. However, if no registered trade mark existed Tesco’s use of the phrase and style in which it appears would have been protected by copyright and Lidl’s use could well have fallen into the new ‘parody’ exception.

Our Commercial team, based in Christchurch, also cover Bournemouth, Poole and the New Forest. For a free initial chat, please call 01202 499255 and Karen or a member of the team will be happy to discuss any questions that you may have.