May 06, 2008

What is an 'insubstantial part'?

In UK copyright, under certain conditions that are outlined in this article by the University Legal Compliance Officer, we may use an ‘insubstantial part’ of a copyrighted work without gaining explicit permission. But what is meant by ‘insubstantial part’?
There is no simple quantification of the meaning of ‘insubstantial part’. We cannot simply claim that x% of the work is an insubstantial part. However there are a few useful guidelines:

If the reproduction of the copyrighted content makes it unecessary to view or purchase the original work, then that is clearly more than an ‘insubstantial part’.

If we are making a copy for the purposes of criticism or review, then we should only use content that is necessary to support the argument that we are making. Edit carefully. Be efficient. For more help, talk to Clayton Jones (University Legal Compliance Officer).

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