UK Reforms Copyright Laws

The United Kingdom is revamping its intellectual property laws for published research.

Jef Akst
Jef Akst

Jef Akst is managing editor of The Scientist, where she started as an intern in 2009 after receiving a master’s degree from Indiana University in April 2009 studying the mating behavior of seahorses.

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Aug 4, 2011

FLICKR, SHANE GLOBAL

The UK is updating its copyright laws to fit in with current research practices, in particular the now nearly ubiquitous use of the internet as a forum for publishing and reading articles, ScienceInsider reports.

Specifically, the government plans to permit exceptions to the copyright laws that would allow researchers to mine published materials for data, for meta-analyses as an example, without first receiving permission from the copyright holder. The practice is currently blocked by intellectual property protections for much medical research. The government said it is also endorsing the creation of a “digital copyright exchange,” which would simplify the way researchers buy the rights for various materials, according to Reuters.

“By freeing up the intellectual property copyright system... we help consumers, we help business and we help the pursuit of knowledge,” Business Secretary Vince Cable said at a news conference.

Furthermore, the new copyright...

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