Examples of third party uses

5.4 Many organisations, businesses and technologies may be thought to help ‘facilitate’ uses of copyright material. To varying degrees, computers, home recording devices, many software programs and popular apps, the internet itself, all facilitate copying—some more directly than others.

5.5 Some businesses sell machines, computers, or software programs that enable their customers to make copies in their homes; other businesses make, store and communicate the copies more directly. Some services help people copy material they already own; others copy and collect material the consumer may only be free to access, such as so-called ‘free’ web and broadcast content, and books in libraries.

5.6 The spectrum of these activities is wide. At one end may be pure storage services. A third party such as an internet service provider may offer a cloud storage facility that allows customers to store a copy of a music file, for example, on a remote server.[1] Many argue that simply storing customers’ files in remote computer servers should not infringe copyright, even if the service provider must make copies of the files and communicate those files to ‘the public’ (that is, to their customer).

5.7 Other services on this spectrum may include:

  • scanning a customer’s computer and then copying the files and storing them for back-up, perhaps on a remote computer;

  • educational institutions copying material for students;

  • a photocopying company copying material for students;

  • a video hosting web platform copying and communicating the transformative works of its users;

  • taking a customer’s collection of music CDs and making digital copies for the customer to use;

  • scanning hardcopies of a customer’s books (that is, ‘format shifting’ them), and giving the customer electronic versions;

  • a web application that allows users to copy and collect web pages, perhaps stripping them of advertisements and images to make the text easier to read; and

  • a web application for managing research resources that allows users to store copies of web pages, journal articles and other copyright material in the cloud.

5.8 These are all existing business models that arguably involve a third party using copyright material for a customer, in a way that the customer may be permitted to use themselves. Many more examples could be provided.

[1] This chapter does not concern the related question of internet service provider liability, or other third party liability, for copyright infringement, which is outside the Terms of Reference.