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Exceptions: quotation

Before October 2014, copyright law permitted use of a work for the purpose of criticism and review, but it did not allow quotation for other more general purposes. Now, however, the law allows the use of quotation more broadly. So, there are two exceptions to be aware of, one specifically for criticism and review and a more general exception for quotation. Both exceptions apply to all types of copyright material, such as books, music, films, etc.

For example, in order to critique or review a creator’s original work, the reviewer can use examples of the work to demonstrate to an audience the point they are trying to make. Similarly, extracts of copyright works can be used without permission for quotation in other contexts, such as using a short quote in a history book or an academic article.

There is a lot of overlap between the two exceptions, and both require that you meet a number of the same criteria. So, you can only rely on each of these exceptions if:

1) The purpose is really for quotation, criticism or review 2) The material used is available to the public 3) The use of the material is fair 4) Where practical, the use is accompanied by a sufficient acknowledgement

However, it is important to note that, as well as the four criteria set out above, the exception for general quotation also depends on satisfying one additional requirement:

5) Your use of the quotation must extend no further than is required to achieve your purpose

For example, the illustration above shows the famous painting of Marilyn Monroe by Andy Warhol, a lead figure of the ‘pop art’ movement. To write a review or critique on the ‘pop art’ movement it might be desirable to include examples of his work. To benefit from the exception the reviewer will need to explain to the reader the meaning and context of the review. Why is it important to use his work and this particular painting? In this case it is to position Andy Warhol within the context of other artists in the ‘pop art’ movement in order to explain how his work was interpreted by the public. Such a review piece may also touch upon other pieces of art in that period in order to explain why his work stands out from the rest.

For more information about the Quotation exception, see http://copyrightuser.org/topics/quotation/

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This article is from the free online course:

Music Copyright: Understanding UK Copyright Law When Working with Music

The University of Glasgow