Copyright is a very complex issue and forever changing. The
University of Wolverhampton recognises that Copyright is a legal
requirement and a personal and institutional responsibility and
treats failure to comply as a disciplinary offence.
General Questions & Answers
Further information is available here
or you can contact us via our Contact
page, however, please remember that we can offer assistance but
we do not provide legal advice.
Copyright protects the rights of anyone who creates, and/or
owns, a piece of work – literary (e.g. books, journals, computer
programmes), dramatic, musical or artistic (e.g. drawings, photos,
sculptures), sound recordings, films, broadcasts, and the
typographical arrangement of published editions. Any original (i.e.
not copied) work qualifies. It is a 'bundle of rights' that is a
part of the overall family of 'Intellectual Property Rights.' It
has two main areas - 'Moral Rights' and 'Economic Rights.' It means
that no-one else may make any form of copy of that work without the
permission of the copyright owner or a licence to do so.
In the first instance, the creator of a work is normally the
“first owner”, but rights may be passed on or shared (through
contract, licensing, sale or inheritance). The exception to this is
where a work is created as part of a contract of employment, in
which case it is owned by the employer. Other parties may also be
involved (e.g.) publishers, collaborators etc. As for the
commissioning of work - the law changed in this area in 1989. From
work commissioned after 1st August 1989 the 'ownership' goes to the
author/creator - not the commissioner. The only way that this can
be altered is through agreement in an independent contract stating
otherwise. Work commissioned before this date is 'usually' the
property of the commissioning person or body. Copyright does not
have to be registered in the UK, but is an automatic right that
comes into existence with the creation of the work in question.
The University of Wolverhampton recognises that copyright
compliance is a legal requirement for the institution and also a
personal responsibility, and treats failure to comply as a
disciplinary offence. The practice of good Copyright awareness is
becoming more and more important, especially in the creative
atmosphere of Higher Education Institutions such as colleges and
universities. With the addition of the Internet and e-learning
programmes into the creative 'cooking pot' of these institutions,
all works used (past, present and in the future) need to be
properly managed, so to encourage and reward creativeness and also
to protect the work from 'infringing actions' by others.
Copyright is protected in most countries in the world by
international agreements, which means that you need only worry
about observing UK copyright law when you are working in the UK.
This is not so simple when working within the Internet, which has
no geographical boundaries. The laws with copyright are complex.
With the rapid developments in the use of electronic information
new legislation was introduced in October 2003. Legislation and
licensing options are continually developing.
Copyright normally lasts in literary, dramatic or musical works,
for 70 years from the end of the year that the creator dies.
Copyright expires on the 31st December of that 70th year - it does
not (for example) expire in the middle of the year. In the case of
'typographical layout' (i.e. a published version of the work - the
'publishers rights') this lasts for 25 years after publication.
Different 'scenarios' can alter these guidelines.
Before you make any form of copy of someone else’s work, you
need to ensure that you are authorised to do so. This authorisation
could come from – for example – The Law: In the UK individuals may
make 'Fair Dealing' copies for the purposes of research or private
study for their own personal non-commercial use within 'reasonable'
limits. This was amended to include the 'non-commercial'
declaration as part of the European Unions Directive on Copyright
which came into force on 31st October 2003. What constitutes 'Fair
Dealing' is not exactly defined in copyright law, but it seems to
suggest allowing the copying of something as long as it doesn't
harm/or infringe the copyright owner, and its use benefits the
individual and society in general (within 'reasonable' limits).
Fair Dealing can apply to literary, dramatic, musical and artistic
works (for research and private study), but it does not apply to
audio/visual materials such as broadcasts, film, video or sound
recordings (although just to confuse you) 'Fair Dealing' can be
claimed in these materials if the use is for news reporting,
criticism and review purposes. For 'Educational Copying' you need
to abide by Licensing Permissions from the licences held by the
You can photocopy or have scanned up to the following limits
(per module) from publications covered under the licence:- Up to 5%
or one whole chapter (whichever is the greater) from a book. Up to
5% or one whole article (whichever is the greater) from a journal
issue. Up to 5% or a short story or poem (not exceeding 10 pages in
length) from an anthology (whichever is the greater). Up to 5% or
one single case (whichever is the greater) from a published report
of judicial proceedings. For more information regarding the
permissions of this licence please visit our Copyright Licensing Agency page.
Lecturers wanting to use material in a teaching context that is
not covered by the CLA licence can copy up to 1% during any quarter
of the year (i.e. - 1st Jan to 31st March / 1st April to 30th June
etc) and must be an 'insubstantial amount' (that refers to quality
as well as quantity) and must be accompanied with sufficient
acknowledgement of the rights holder. Anything over this must be
with direct permission from the rights owners or publishers. An
'insubstantial amount' applies to the quality of the piece as well
- (i.e.) it's not just the amount copied but if for example you use
the last line of a 'who done it' novel that reveals that 'the
Butler did it, in the Library with the candlestick' then you
'could' be infringing by using the most substantial piece of the
'Fair Dealing' for Research and Private Study of literary,
dramatic, musical or artistic work via photocopying only applies to
individual use and must be for a 'non-commercial purpose'. The
legal permission regarding the amount is not defined other than it
being an 'insubstantial amount' - but guidelines suggest about 1%.
Regarding scanning / digitising an item for your own personal
research or private study - then 'Fair Dealing' should also apply
to electronic versions...the grey bit is that the act of scanning /
digitising can technically be argued as 're-publishing /
re-formatting' and this is something that can only be done with the
rights owners permission...or under licence. A common sense
approach is best applied. If in doubt please DO NOT MAKE THIS
MATERIAL AVAILABLE ON-LINE via WEB SITES / INTRANETS etc. Fair
Dealing also applies to items used for 'Criticism, review and news
reporting' as long as the work is accompanied by sufficient
acknowledgement and has been made available to the public. To
qualify for Fair Dealing the copies must be made by either the
student or researcher - or Library privilege allows for Librarians
to make copies from published works (insubstantial amounts) as long
as they are satisfied that the copying is for 'research for a
non-commercial purpose or private study.' Only one copy to be
supplied to the requester (costs of copies to be paid for).
Visit our information page on the ERA
Licence Educational Recording Agency for details of the
material you can record under this licence - and for information on
the process of on-line digital access. Alternatively, you can make
them available via copying broadcasts to DVDs and CDs (as long as
they are labelled correctly and a copy is deposited in our Learning
Centres). Other sources to use are Film Bank and the BUFVC British
Universities Film and Video Council (these also have an archive of
Commercial Radio broadcasts (but note that the ERA Licence does not
cover Commercial Radio).
If the YouTube page is the page of the rights owners of the
material available, then you are ok to link to it. For example -
film maker Ken Loach has made most of his films available on his
YouTube page - these are ok to link to. If you want to paste
material from the page into a page of your own then please contact
the YouTube page for permission. You cannot use YouTube material
that has been posted illegally (i.e. someone publishing their
favourite clips from videos).
These styles of broadcasts are aimed for individual use and
licensed via 'a non-exclusive licence for your own personal /
non-commercial use.' We advise lecturers to point your students to
the programme / inform them etc, but if you want to use this type
of broadcast in your teaching content then please contact the
rights owners for permission - or see if it can be acquired through
our other resources.
Please treat material published on the Internet / Web sites etc,
like you would a book (i.e. it may be available for you to look at
and read - but not to use in educational purposes). If you want to
'use it' please contact the web page / rights owner and ask
permission. You can provide a link to the item - but please fully
reference the link, it's a requirement as well as a courtesy. Be
aware with 'free sites' as well - check the 'terms and conditions'
links (usually found at the bottom of the home page) to see exactly
the permitted use of the material... it may for example be free to
view, but further use may need permission.
Under examination exceptions of the Copyright Designs and
Patents Act 1988 (and this applies to accredited assignments as
well) 'anything can be done for the purpose of an examination by
way of communicating the question to the candidates.' If the
setting of the question and access to the examination / assignment
(and then the answering) involves delivery via on-line application
- then once the material is marked it must be removed and not
Most published books/journals have a copyright notice inside the
publication with the relevant information, but you can always
contact the publisher if necessary. Films, TV broadcasts and sound
recordings may have more than one copyright owner, so it is best to
contact the publisher or distributor to check.
For items not covered by the University licences you should
write to the copyright owner with as much information as possible
about the material you want to use and how you intend to use it.
The reference information should include ISBN/ISSN, author, title,
year, page numbers (and volume for journals). Usage information
should include the number of copies, what format (digitised,
printed, etc), availability (published in another work, on web site
– internal, public, etc), UK only or overseas, and the time period
available from/to. Note that you must get permission before using
the material. If you do not receive a reply then you do not have
Some publishers allow around 400 words to be used (with full
acknowledgement) but the best advice is to be careful as to the
amount being quoted and think about its quality as well as the
quantity, and the likely commercial implications of including the
quote. If there is any doubt then contact the rights owners for
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