Actually ICH GCP ICH E6 (R2) does state "a copy" and it does not say an original document.
"4.8.11 Prior to participation in the trial, the subject or the subject's legally acceptable representative should receive a copy of the signed and dated written informed consent form and any other written information provided to the subjects".
The subject (or LAR) needs "a copy of the signed and dated written informed consent form and any other written information provided to the subjects". As you say that could be by both means you suggest. The photocopy does ensure that the subject has an exact copy of the form which that subject has signed. If a photocopy was not available, then a duplicate of a wet ink signed document would do the same job.
The FDA opinion may be useful:-
A Guide to Informed Consent - Information Sheet 1988 "A copy of the consent document must be provided to the subject and the original signed consent document should be retained in the study records. Note that the FDA regulations do not require the subject's copy to be a signed copy, although a photocopy with signature(s) is preferred".
Institutional Review Boards Frequently Asked Questions - Information Sheet Guidance for Institutional Review Boards and Clinical Investigators 2013
Question - 36. 21 CFR 50.27(a) requires that a copy of the consent document be given to the person signing the form. Does this copy have to be a photocopy of the form with the subject's signature affixed? Answer - No. The regulation does not require the copy of the form given to the subject to be a copy of the document with the subject's signature, although this is encouraged. It must, however, be a copy of the IRB approved document that was given to the subject to obtain consent [21 CFR 50.27(a) or 21 CFR 50.27(b)(2)]. One purpose of providing the person signing the form with a copy of the consent document is to allow the subject to review the information with others, both before and after making a decision to participate in the study, as well as providing a continuing reference for items such as scheduling of procedures and emergency contacts.
Informed Consent Information Sheet Guidance for IRBs, Clinical Investigators, and Sponsors1 Draft July 2014 III.E.3:- "The person signing the consent form must receive a copy of the consent form (21 CFR 50.27(a)), and the subject’s case history should contain the signed and dated consent form. Although FDA regulations do not require the subject's copy to be a signed copy, FDA recommends that a copy of the signed consent form be provided".