Copyright for your business

Copyright exceptions

In most cases, reproducing or using a copyright-protected work without the permission of the copyright owner usually amounts to an infringement of copyright. However, certain uses of copyright works may not require permission. This may be the case if:

  • less than a 'substantial part' of a copyrighted work is being used
  • exceptions to copyright apply

For guidance on what can be considered a 'substantial part' of a copyright-protected work, see copyright infringement.

Exceptions to copyright

Certain types of uses may be exempt from copyright law provisions.

Use of a part or all of a copyrighted work may be permitted for:

  • research and private study
  • text and data-mining
  • education and teaching
  • archiving and preservation
  • public administration
  • accessible formats for visually impaired people
  • personal copies for private use
  • caricature, parody or pastiche
  • quotation

Download guidance on copyright exceptions (PDF, 272K).

Important: Following the transition period, the UK's exit from the EU may affect the cross-border exchange of accessible format copies of works. Find information on changes to access to copyright works for visually impaired people from 1 January 2021.

Exceptions if you own copyright

If someone wants to use your work and you are the copyright owner, in most cases, you will be able to prohibit or license such use.

However, you should check that the use doesn’t fall within one of the exceptions to copyright. If it does, the user may be within their rights to use your work without your permission or licence.

Download guidance on copyright exceptions for copyright owners (PDF, 349K).

If you believe that a copyright exception doesn't apply and that your rights may have been infringed, you may need to consider if enforcement actions are appropriate. For guidance on this, see how to enforce your copyright.