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Frequently asked questions

At the end of October 2003, the law of copyright in the United Kingdom changed in a number of significant respects. This stems from a European Union Directive passed the Summer 2001 in an attempt to harmonise the laws of copyright amongst Member States and to bring the laws up to date to take account of the realities of electronic information in general, and the Internet in particular.

The EU Directive has led to a number of important changes to UK copyright law. One of the most important changes is to remove some of the exceptions to copyright (i.e. fair dealing and the library privileges), any copying that is carried out for commercial purposes. This may affect individuals and organisations making copies or requesting them from document delivery services, such as the British Library Document Supply services, when requiring the copy for a commercial purpose.

The CLA and the British Library jointly published notes about how the changes might affect users of copyright publications.

You can also read more about the revised legislation by visiting one of our external links.