The University of Wolverhampton


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.

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.

What is Copyright?

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.

Who Owns Copyright?

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.

Why is copyright important?

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.

Where does copyright apply?

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.

When does copyright expire?

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.

How can we work within the law?

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 University.

How much can I photocopy or digitise for use in a module under the CLA Licence?

You can photocopy or have scanned up to the following limits (per module) from publications covered under the licence:- Up to 10% or one whole chapter (whichever is the greater) from a book. Up to 10% or one whole article (whichever is the greater) from a journal issue. Up to 10% or a short story or poem (not exceeding 10 pages in length) from an anthology (whichever is the greater). Up to 10% 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.

How much can I photocopy or digitise from items not covered by the CLA Licence?

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 novel.

How much can I photocopy or digitise for my own personal use?

'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).

How do I get media made available in a digital format for teaching?

How do I get media (tv programmes, films recorded from tv, radio shows etc) made available in a digital format for teaching?

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).

Can I Use YouTube Clips?

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).

Can I use BBC i-player clips etc (Commercial TV as well)?

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.

Can I use material on web sites / the Internet etc?

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.

Are there any restrictions on the use of material for Examinations?

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 stored on-line.

How do I find out who owns the copyright?

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.

What information should I include in a request for copyright permission?

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 permission.

How much 3rd party material can I use to support my findings without permission?

I have a paper / article / chapter contribution to collected edition that I have publishing interest in. How much 3rd party material (quotes etc) can I use to support my findings without seeking permission from the rights owners?

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 permission.

I have a paper / article / chapter contribution to collected edition that I have publishing interest in. How much 3rd party material (quotes etc) can I use to support my findings without seeking permission from the rights owners?