Copying for a Commercial Purpose

From 31 October 2003, the Copyright and Related Rights Regulations 2003 SI No: 2498 came into force in the UK. It implements a European Directive that was passed in 2001. Copying that is carried out for a commercial purpose is not permitted under "fair dealing".

"Commercial" is not simply profit-making or something done in a business environment. It means directly or indirectly to do with generating income. The kind of organisation you are in is not a decisive factor. The decisive factor is the purpose for which the copies are required.

If that purpose is "commercial" then the copy must NOT be made (or supplied) unless it is copyright cleared and/or a copyright fee is paid. Both "private study" and "research" now include this requirement that copies made are not directly or indirectly for a commercial purpose.

The library has produced a list of university activities that may be considered as commercial or non-commercial. This has been compiled by an experienced HE copyright officer, but no responsibility for its accuracy in law can be accepted either by him or by ISLS. It does not constitute legal advice.

Non-commercial

  • Research in an educational establishment which is not related to any commercial venture
  • Employees own private research or study unrelated to any commercial venture
  • Research on a genuinely pro-bono basis
  • Any individual's private research or study unrelated to any commercial venture
  • Work done to assist in NHS services
  • Work done by University students for their courses, whether full-time/part-time or on day release from an employer
  • Work done by University lecturers for their teaching (unless this involves creating commercial 'spin-offs')
  • Work done in drafting a book, book chapter, or an article for a scholarly journal for which the author will not be paid and will not receive royalties
  • Work done in preparation for a conference speech (unless the person is paid over and above expenses for giving the speech)
  • Work done by a student on a taught course who happens to receive sponsorship by a company and has to work for them after graduation
  • Work done by an individual to assist in his/her personal professional development.

Commercial

  • Research undertaken or contracted-out by a commercial company in support of its commercial activities
  • Market research or competitor intelligence in all organisations
  • Searching for legislation and regulations for a commercial company
  • Research whose results will be passed to a commercial company for commercial use
  • Work done to assist in private medicine
  • Work done by an information broker for clients
  • Work done for a spin-off company owned by the University or a charity, even if all profits are covenanted to the University or the charity
  • Work done in drafting a book, book chapter, or an article for a scholarly journal for which the author will be paid or receive royalties
  • Work done in preparation for a conference speech for which the speaker will be paid, over and above expenses.