Monday, February 02, 2009

UK Copyright Law, in verse

U.S. Copyright Code | U.S. Patent Code | U.S. Trademark Code | Canadian Copyright Code

These verses contain
Some copyright Acts
The UK's, I say
As a matter of fact

Here in old England
It's not written plain -
Many acts and schedules
Are copyright's claim

For instance, fathom,
If you think you can:
A whole schedule just on
The book Peter Pan

To make up for this
They did something better:
"Design" laws are not simply
Lumped in together

Copyrights and patents
Are addressed separately;
Separate from designs,
Most sensibly

Anyhoo, please note
These verses are crude,
Reading the original's
Legally prude

It starts with an act
From one nine eight eight
On copyrights and patents
And designs, but just wait

Further amendments,
Provisions and rights
Are after appended,
Like day follows night

I'll cover just copyright;
Some other time
I'll get to the rights
On patents and design

Part 1

Chapter I

1

Copyright subsists
In writing, plays, movies,
Publishing, art, broadcasts,
And music; that's groovy

2

Two types of rights:
Moral and actions
Will soon be described
In following sections

3

You copyright books
And programs, all sized
Written or recorded
Even unauthorized

3A

Databases, too,
By which they mean lists
Of things, are also
In this here gist

4

Art includes maps
And casts of all sorts
Buildings and sketches
So on and so forth

5A

Sounds are copyrit
By these types of laws,
But only originals
It says in a clause

5B

Movies are this section's
Major concern
The soundtrack's included
Or so we do learn

6

Broadcasts are just that
This section's explaining
And no matter whether
It's sunny or raining

6A

If coming from satellite
The broadcast's considered
As coming from where it's
Being transmittered

8

Apart from the contents,
Copyright (too)
Is in how it's published:
Like one book, or two

9

Somehow the singers
Or actors are never
The copyright holders;
They must not be clever

10

More than one author
Can share in the rights
Which sometimes can lead to
Big author fist fights

11

Along with the "author"
There's also the "owner"
Which means your employer
Unless you're a loner

12

Digital works' rights
Last fifty years,
For others it's death
Plus seventy, I fears

13A

Music is locked for
Years making fifty
That's better, but fifteen
Sound even more nifty

13B

Movies are death plus
Seventy years;
Movies sell longer than
Music? How queers

14

Broadcasts are righted
For fifty years, too
Like live streaming webcams
Within London's zoo

15

Published arrangements
Are righted for shorter
Not half a century,
Only a quarter

15A

The country of origin
For works is considered
Graciously and fairly
So don't feel embittered

Chapter II

16

Various activities,
Timid or bolder,
Are exclusive to only
The copyright holder

17

You can't sculpt a painting
You can't paint a statue
Unless you want copy
Policemen to get you

18

If copies were made
But never were sold
You can't sell them even if
You scrape off the mold

18A

Apparently libraries
Cannot be erected
Since lending and renting
Are herein rejected

19

Performing or showing
Is also forbidden
Original works must be
Totally hidden

20

They all must be locked up
So no one can see 'em
And stuck in a basement
Or copy museum

21

Adapting a work
Means a translation
Or changing to graphic
Representation

22

Importing copies
Of dubious legality
Is also a no-no
Regardless of quality

23

Simple possession
Is also law-breaking
You'll be arrested
For what you are taking

24

If you merely look at
A copy machine
Or touch a computer
They'll cut out your spleen

25

In fact, if anyone,
Anywhere violates
Anything, you're guilty
Too, you ingrate

26

We're way past ridiculous
With what's written here
Suffice to say, everyone
Should shudder with fear

27

And this section tells us
That guilt's a presumption,
If it looks like a copy
It is by assumption

--

Whew! Now I'm ready
To go kill myself
First, I will burn all
The books on my shelf

Let's see if somehow
The following sections
Can offer some sort of
Free speech protection

Chapter III

28

So what is permitted
For copyright things?
The answer the sections
In this chapter brings

28A

Transitory copies
Made by machine
Are not an infringement
'Cause they're never seen

29

Copying for research
Is never infringement
When juxtaposed with
Proper acknowledgment

30

Also for reporting
And even review
Copying's permitted
In this section's view

31

Except for deliberately
Using song parts
It's fair if you briefly
Include stuff in art

31A

Copying items
For use by the blind
Is fair, if they can't use
The regular kind

31B

Exception, of course,
For musical works
And databases, also
Is one of the quirks

31C

For many blind people,
Works intermediate
May also be made
If this proves expedient

31D

But only if no other
License exists
For which rights to copy
For blind guys insists

31E

The State Secretary
Can decide that these laws
Were all a mistake
After giving it pause

31F

This section only
Clarifies phrases
Occurring in 31's
Sections, all places

32

Copying also
In most circumstances
Is ok, if somehow
Learning enhances

33

Also for textbooks
Copying's nice
When done every five years
And no more than twice

34

Schools perform plays
This says, but it's prudent
To not invite parents
Or siblings, just students

35

If no one is selling
Broadcasts for teaching,
Recording for lectures
Is fine, this is preaching

36

On March 31st
Xerox 1 percent
Of a book; the next day
You can do it again
(A strange reading, verily,
And not what they meant)

36A

Schools lend books,
Is what's written here
Exactly to whom
Is not made very clear

37

The next sections talk about
Hottie librarians
Those short skirted, dimple cheeked
Disciplinarians

38

Librarians copy
For you any article,
Only one copy for
Each periodical

39

And, quite bizarrely,
Only for money
Covering, at least,
The cost of copy

40

Hottie librarians
Should needlessly pester
Anyone who is a
Copy requester

40A

Here's the exemption
For libraries to lend
Without which all libraries
Would come to an end

41

A library may copy
For another, no stress,
Unless knowing author's
Name and address

42

Hottie librarians
Copy for backups
Between drinking coffee
And putting on makeup

43

Also they give you
What you really need
But first make you pay
And then make you plead

44

Sometimes a copy
Is needed for export
It's ok to copy for
Reasons of this sort

44A

I love this: "Regulations
Under this section
Can be for any purpose
Or any provision"

45

Copying by government
Anywhere, anytime,
Is retroactively
Considered just fine

46

Also if done for
A public commission
Copying is legal
Without no permission

47

Anything open
For public inspection
Can also be copied
And has no protection

48

If created specifically
For King or for Queen
They can replay it
Or publish it, it seems

49

All public records
Are copyable, you know
Like what I wrote
Two sections ago

50

Whenever the gov wants
To copy today
They just make an act
And then it's ok

50A

Software users
Can back up their disks
Regardless of what
EUI clause exists

50B

You also can do any
Decompilation
Whenever you have need
For inter-operation

50BA

OK.....
Apparently herein
It says you can see
A program as it runs
On your CRT

50C

Go fix your software,
If given permission,
In order to use it,
A sensible decision

50D

If you have the right
To access a database
Then you have the right
To access the database
(Don't ask me, I'm only
Visiting this place)

51

I had a rough time
Parsing this section,
It seems design rights
Give little protection

52

"An order shall be made
By statutory instrument
And subject to annulment
By House of Parliament." ???

53

Hoowee, speaking of
Designs and such stuff
The design of these sections
Is excessively rough

54

Typefaces are protected
Except you can use them
Or type, read, or publish
Or generally abuse them

55

Whatever, copyright
Last twenty five years
Although what it does
Is not very clear

56

If you are allowed
And send stuff by email
Delete all your copies
If you're male or female

57

Anonymous works by
The probably demised,
For seventy years
Are now authorized

58

Like others, this section
Says nothing new:
The owner can tell you
What you may do

59

You can read excerpts
And even record them
For later broadcasting
If you can afford them

60

Abstracts of papers
May be reproduced
Like "Habits of Mating
In Manchester Moose"

61

Folk music singing,
If all give permission,
Can be recorded
For archive addition

(Again, since permission
Is needed for this,
I can't see why sections
Like this one exist)

62

Section 17
Is now overturned:
Take photos or paint
Any building, we learn,
Or camcord a sculpture
That you can discern

63

All sorts of copies
For advertising
The sale of an item
Are fine improvising

64

If not now the owner,
The original creator
Can reuse material
For making works later

65

If a building falls down
It was probably defective
Rebuilding it's dumb
And I'm not a detective

66

Guys in the Parliament
Broadcast stuff,
After they think about
What fee's enough

66A

For any anonymous
Films that are old
Go copy away,
You may be so bold

67

If you have a club with
A righteous intention
You can play music
Without intervention

68

When broadcast is authorized
Some rights are suspended
But only for twenty eight
Days, then they're ended

69

BBC radio
Or television
Can copy for "control"
Or "supervision"

70

Time-shifting doodads
For watching shows later
Are perfectly legal
And couldn't be straighter

71

Taking a picture of
The telly is fine
For personal use
Any day, any time

72

I've read through this section
And don't understand it
Something about broadcasts
For free without music

73

Cable transmission
Is fine when it is
And not when it isn't
Is what this sec says

73A

They pay for each area
To which they transmit
Negotiating licenses
For which they remit

74

Copies of programs
For the deaf, when sub-titled,
Let them enjoy
American Idol

75

All broadcasts may
Be copied to archive
By whom the government
Does authorize

76

Anywhere previous
That copying's allowed
Adaption is permitted for
The very same crowd

Chapter IV

77

Moral rights means
You're identified
With works that you've made,
You can't go and hide

78

Luckily, these rights don't
Have to be asserted,
So go disown anything
You've made that's perverted

79

Not every copy
Requires your ID
If including it wouldn't
Be easily tidy

80

Rights include also
The right to complain
If use of your work
Damages your name

81

But not for reporting,
And not for software,
And not for censorship by
The BBC, take care

82

This sec imposes
Some qualification
But I didn't read it -
I took a vacation

83

The usual heaping
Of criminal accessories
Is now written here
In glorious excessories

84

You can't be ascribed
To what you didn't do,
(Nothing about denying what
You did do, boo hoo)

85

Private home movies
(And you know what I mean)
Do not have a right by
The public to be seen

86

The right to not be
Falsely ascribed
Lasts only til twenty years
After you've died
(This section was written by
Shakespeare's son Clyde)

87

You can waive moral rights
For what you have made
Just make sure you've been
Properly paid

88

Joint authorship
Is straight from above:
Take credit for work that
You're really proud of

89

How much of your work
Is protected by morals?
You'll have to read here,
Don't rest on your laurels

Chapter V

90

Copyright privilege
For some works of art
May be sub-licensed
In whole or in part

91

Give it away
Before you have won it
Much like the government
Seems to have done it

92

Exclusive license
Is herein defined,
Nothing new here,
Pay it no mind

93

Unpublished gifts,
When given, include
Copyright license
This section concludes

93A

Movie production
Rights, unless noted,
Include rental license
So here it's quoted

93B

Nevertheless,
Though rental's permitted
The author gets some of
The earnings remitted

93C

Just how much money
The author will get
Is, by some guys at a
Tribunal, set

94

Moral rights can't be
So rented out,
You're stuck with them, just like
A bad case of gout

95

But then, if you die,
They still get inherited
By people for which moral
Claim is not merited

Chapter VI

96

The guy with the copyright
Can sue, sue, sue,
And that's what he's surely
Intending to do

97

For innocent copying
You won't pay for damage
The copyright holders
Will just have to manage

97A

ISPs, notified,
Take down infringement,
Or find themselves subject
To harsh legal singement

98

If sued, you pay
Just like you should have;
You're clear, paying double
What you then would have

99

You may have to give up
Infringing works
To the rights-holder,
That's one of the quirks

100

The owner may seize any
Works in the shops
If he leaves a nice letter
And first tells the cops

101

Exclusive license
Won't let you sue
The owner; it seems like
It really ought to

101A

Other license holders
Have some rights, as well,
So bunches of people
Could sue you, oh swell

102

Copyright owners
When deciding to sue
Add all those others
to their lawsuit, too

103

When suing for moral
Rights, then the court
Can give useful orders
Of this or that sort

104

Assumptions are made;
Between you and me,
What happens when you
Assume liberally?

105

They assume who filmed this
They assume who wrote that
They pull these assumptions
Right out of their hat

106

When something is marked with
A crown copyright
They assume that the year
Is probably right

107

When guilty, they beat you
With large rusty hammers,
Or send you for ten years
Into the slammer

107A

"Local Weights and Measures"
Enforces these details;
Huh? What do they do?
Weigh them on scales?

108

Curious happenings
Are found in this clause
Each part of U.K.
Has its own set of laws

109

Warrants may be issued
When they do warrant
And not when the warrant
For warrants just aren't

110

Managers, directors,
And cute secretaries
Are liable for guilt that
Their company carries

111

Customs officials
Respond to requests
For barring infringement
They do their bests

112

So long as you fill out
All proper papers
And stamp them and fold them
And bang them with staplers

113

If you hid your copies
For more than six years
They can't take them from you
Or so it appears

114

The court sells illegal
Copies to get dough
And pays off the owners -
No really! It says so
(But buying them's legal?
That's what I want to know)

114A

This section talks about
Copies that got banned
And redress for owners
Everywhere but Scotland

114B

The subject continues
Here, Scotland only,
Scots laws are unique
They must get quite lonely

115

Likewise the court types
Depend on location
Calling this "United" is
A strange appellation

Chapter VII

116

This chapter's about
License and stuff,
Definitions and meanings
And that sort of fluff

117

With licensing types
This chapter is leading:
Copying, performing,
Renting, and reading

118

"Licensing bodies"
Is not what it seems
Regardless of what may
Occur in your dreams

119

You may be referred to
The copy tribunal
For arguments private
Or even communal

120

Tribunal discussions
Last for a year,
They sit and discuss
New problems they hear

121

They mumble and moan
And snuffle and snort
And try to make sense of
Each case of this sort

122

One wants a license
For this or for that,
Another one wants to
License his cat

123

The tribunal thinks hard
Until they have thunk
And then they go out to
A bar and get drunk

124

The next day they come back
To problems galore
Like claims upon authors
Of works, two or more

125

Depending on how bad
Their feel in their head
They might do some work
Or go back to bed

126

If you have a license
That's almost expired
Catch the tribunal
When they're pretty tired

127

They'll probably stamp
Whatever you're handing
If you're dressed and polite,
And not too demanding

128

If you get your license
You're legally able
To go out and sue every
Tom, Dick, and Mabel

128A

Excepted recordings;
When they are of sound
Have special instructions
Which herein are found

128B

The State Secretary
Is drawn in the fray
In the end, the tribunal
Has all the say

129

When figuring schemes
They take in account
Alternatives available,
Type and amount

130

Also, for copies,
Made on the fly,
They check what's available,
How many and why

131

They perforce consider
Each situation
And each circumstance
With deliberation

132

They listen to broadcasters
When they complain
That license for copying
Isn't germane

133

Also the payments
Must always be fair
You shouldn't have to
Be selling your heir

134

For retransmission,
Items considered
Include double payments
And where it's transmittered

135

Exceptions considered
In preceding clauses
Don't prevent further
"But"s or "because"s

135A

The following verses
Have now just begun
Their number is eight
Including this one

135B

All share the digits
Of one, three, and five
From which the numbers
For each verse derive

135C

All have a letter
From "A" until "H"
Which after the digits
Is firmly in place

135D

Ordering, too,
Is quite alphabetical
That's actual fact
And not theoretical

135E

Each verse is four lines
Which seems reasonable
And rhymes in a style
That's quite seasonable

135F

Making it pleasant
To read through the verses
The poetry's not great, but
It could have been worses

135G

When all's said and done
These sections will finish
But memories of them
Won't soon diminish

135H

Oh yeah! What's the text of
The acts for these sections?
... I'm sorry, it's late, I
Have no recollection

136

Broad license schemes
Indemnify those
Who make a mistake
When good will's supposed

137

If you run a school
And government likes you
The law can be bent if
Soon poised to strike you

138

First you must charm
The old Sec of State
Make him or her a big
Fudge chocolate cake

139

Better be careful
And bribe him real swell,
The copyright owner
Might bake cake, as well

140

After this cake
The State Sec may burble
And make up new rules
Written, not verbal

141

Early next day
He may then regret
Decisions he made,
You're not all safe yet

142

Royalty rates
For lending of works
Are subject to all of the
Tribunal's quirks

143

Licensing schemes
Can always be checked
Against all the rules
So that they're correct

144

Reasonable terms for
Your license, hot shot,
Is forced on you whether
You like it or not

144A

You can say yea
Or you can say nay
For cable to broadcast
Your song, book, or play

145

The Tribunal's members
Are playful and frisky:
Two deputies, chairman,
And bottles of whiskey

146

When the old guys get drunk,
They bring new guys in,
So they, on the whiskey,
Can henceforth begin

147

Parliament pays for
All of their wages
Considering BAC,
Experience, and ages

148

A chairman breaks ties,
And must be around,
If he can vote
Without falling down

149

The copy tribunal
Has jurisdiction
On stuff in a few of
The previous sections

150

There's Lord Chancellor
And Lord Advocate -
Ladies aren't written
Into laws, yet

151

Results may be made
On such and such date
For such and such terms
And such and such rate

152

You lost? Don't be sad
I know how you feel,
You always can try
To make an appeal

Chapter IX

153

This chapter tell us
What stuff qualifies
For copy protection;
Sit up, gals and guys!

154

If it took ten years to
Record, night and day,
Be British for five years
At least, plus a day

155

Or, get it published
Inside the UK
Or else in a country
Who thinks she's OK

156

Or, if transmitted,
From somewhere inside,
Copyright's coming,
Don't try to hide

157

The Queen may decide
That any old land
Is worthy of copy
Protection, how grand!

158

Colonies once owned -
Subsequently not -
Gain partial protection
You miserable lot

159

Whoops, it now seems
That really the Queen
Can only give rights to
A country that's clean

160

Miserable countries
That copy unfairly
Will get a swift kick in
The buttocks, squarely

161

All things that float
Within UK's waters
Are subject to this,
As surely they oughter

162

Ships that are British
Are henceforth defined
Though mentioned in no place
Ahead or behind

Chapter X

163

Crown copyright
Is applied to all works
By Queen or her servants,
That's one of the perks

164

Also Her Majesty
Can copy all Acts
And paste them with ribbons
On all royal cats

165

Parliamentary
Copyright, too
Affects works that MPs
Ask you to do

166

Bills are all morally
Protected, all sorts,
Not making the bills
All moral, of course

167

An MP who's low
On the task totem pole
Is given the "defend
Our copyrights" role

168

Protection applies to
Orgs international
Whenever the Queen thinks
To do so is rational

169

Folk tales, anon works,
Myths, lore: the lot
Default as protected
Unless proven not

170

Another whole schedule
Is written besides;
To works published prior to
This Act applied

171

This section says "Ha!
Just kidding, you fools!
No one is affected by
Any of these rules!"

172

The EEA means
European sorts
Regardless of language,
Temperament, or warts

173

When relevant, joint
Copyright's applied
To all of the owners,
As already implied

174

Teachers are people
Who teach, and, as well,
Students are people
Who study; do tell

175

Performing a work
Isn't publishing, y'all,
Nor playing or hanging
A work on a wall

176

Signature, when
It's required, is fine
If anyone relevant
And sober will sign

177

English is translated
To English for Scots:
They'll read it after
Drinking some shots

178

More definitions
Now get related
After you're already
Tired and frustrated

179

Lastly a glossary
Or index a kind;
Now have a lie down
And try to unwind

(But please also note
That good old UK
Tacked on the equiv
Of the DMCA)

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 License.
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7 comments:

Chris said...

My flabber is well and truly gasted! Bravo! You are completely insane! :)

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't this work better?

17
You can't sculpt a painting
You can't paint a statue
Unless you want copy
Policemen to catch you

Yehuda said...

Anon, um... yes.

Yehuda

grin said...

Awesome. And completely mad.

Dan said...

Great. I didn't manage to read it all through, but got a lot further than when reading the prose version!

English European said...

Fantastic!

Aussie Pleader said...

You deserve a medal.