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Copyright

What you need to know

This page provides guidance about copyright in the UK to staff and students. Nearly all published information, in print and on the internet is covered by copyright, so you must be aware of the regulations. There are strict rules about what can and cannot be copied, and these vary according to whether the copies are for educational or other purposes. The information and links on this page should help you to ensure that you comply with the regulations when making and using copies. 

IMPORTANT! In law and under the University’s regulations, individuals are responsible for their own actions. If you use an unfair amount of someone else’s copyright material without their permission or infringe their moral rights, they can sue you personally for damages. Whether they do so or not, you may also be subject to disciplinary action by the University. These notes are not an authoritative statement of the law. They are offered in good faith but neither the author nor the University can accept any responsibility or liability for errors or omissions. 

What is copyright? 

Copyright is an automatic intellectual property right which protects the following original works: 

  • Literary - includes computer programs, databases. 
  • Dramatic - includes dance. 
  • Musical 
  • Artistic 
  • Sound recordings 
  • Films 
  • Broadcasts 
  • Typography 

It enables copyright holders to control how their works are used such as photocopying, scanning, downloading, adapting, and performing. It applies to new, original works which are in a fixed format e.g. written down, filmed, and painted. It does not apply to ideas or facts. 

Copyright also exists in websites and you should always read the legal information contained in websites to see what you can and cannot do. 

Computer programs are also subject to copyright law. They are often licensed for use rather than sold outright. The terms of the licence granted are legally binding. 

In the UK, the Copyright, Design and Patents Act 1988 (CDPA) and a number of more recent statutory instruments incorporate regulations about copyright. In 2014, changes were made to copyright law some of which benefit educational institutions. These changes can be found at the www.gov.uk website and are summarised here. 

Copyright legislation also provides the protection of 'moral rights' whereby the creator has the right to be acknowledged as the creator. They can also object to being associated with a work that they have not created and they can protect their work from derogatory treatment e.g. distortion by selective quotation, bad reproduction of artwork, or inclusion in an unsuitable context. 

Outside the UK, copyright still applies but will vary with each individual country. 

Who owns copyright? 

Copyright is owned by the creator of the work in most circumstances. However, copyright holders may assign their rights to a third party, such as publishers, or if a piece of work has been commissioned by a third party, they would own the copyright of that work unless otherwise agreed in writing. Copyright holders may also grant permission to use their work, subject to specific conditions, in the form of a licence. 

The copyright of works created in the course of employment would generally belong to the employer unless otherwise agreed in writing. The University owns the copyright of financial and administrative documents created by employees and also course materials. However, where an employee has created scholarly works and material for their personal use and reference, copyright belongs to that employee. More information is available in Copyright - Notes for Guidance in the University Policy & Regulations UPR CA04. 

Undergraduate and taught postgraduate students retain the copyright for work they create during the course of their studies unless otherwise agreed with the University. Work created by post-graduate researchers is owned by the University unless otherwise agreed. 

How long does copyright last? 

The length of time copyright lasts varies depending on the format of the work. It usually lasts for a specific period of time from the end of the calendar year in which the creator died or when the work was made available to the public. 

Format of the work 

Duration of copyright after the 
creator's death 

Literary, dramatic, musical & artistic works 

70 years 

Films 

70 years 

Sound Recordings 

50 years 

Broadcasts 

50 years 

Typography (layout of the page) 

25 years 

Copyright also applies to works for which the author is unknown and for unpublished works. 

In these circumstances, copyright lasts for the number of years indicated above from the end of the calendar year that the work of an unknown author was made or after the work was made publicly available. 

For unpublished works, if an author died before 1st January 1969, and the work was unpublished at that time then the copyright will exist in that work until 31st December 2039. If the author died on or after 1st January 1969 then that work is protected for 70 years from the end of the year in which the author died. 

There is also Crown Copyright which relates to material created by civil servants, ministers and government departments and agencies. This generally lasts for 125 years after the end of the calendar year in which the material was created. 

What is copyright infringement? 

Copyright infringement is where a copyright holder's work has been used without their permission or the permission of the law. Providing the means to others to infringe copyright or helping to create or distribute infringing copies is also considered copyright infringement. Copying a complete work or significant part of a work is copyright infringement. 

Where a work can be easily copied e.g. a picture on the internet or a book in the library, it is still generally an infringement to do so unless the copyright holder has granted permission to make the copy or unless an exception exists. 

Creative Commons Licences allow you to make specific use of copyright works, explained further below. 

A copyright holder can take legal action against someone who is infringing their rights. They can stop someone from continuing to infringe their rights, claim damages and have any infringing copies destroyed. 

How can copyright material be used? 

There are a number of exceptions to copyright law which allow the use of copyright works and these include: 

How does copyright affect me - for Students

Can I copy from printed materials e.g. books and journals? 

Under copyright law, students are able to copy from printed materials for non-commercial research and private study subject to the following conditions: 

The proportion of a work that can be copied is limited by 'fair dealing'. 

It is generally considered that it is acceptable to copy: 

1 chapter of a book or 5%. 

1 journal article from an issue. 

Only a single copy may be made and the source of the copy should be acknowledged. 

Can I copy from electronic materials e.g. e-books and e-journals? 

Under copyright law, students are able to copy from electronic materials for non-commercial research and private study subject to the following conditions: 

The proportion of a work that can be copied is limited by 'fair dealing'. 

Please check the terms and conditions for the electronic book or journal you want to copy from. 

It is generally considered that it is acceptable to copy: 

1 chapter of a book or 5%. 

1 journal article from an issue. 

Only a single copy may be made and the source of the copy should be acknowledged. 

Can I copy from sound recordings, films, and broadcasts? 

Under copyright law, students are able to copy extracts from sound recordings, films, and broadcasts for non-commercial research and private study. 

The proportion of a work that can be copied is limited by 'fair dealing', only a single copy may be made and the source of the copy should be acknowledged. 

Can I copy from a website? 

Check the terms and conditions on the website as material on the internet is protected by copyright law unless otherwise stated. 

Under the 'fair dealing' exception the amount you copy must be reasonable and appropriate to what it is being used for and it should not affect the copyright holder's ability to exploit their own work. It would be for your own private study or research. 

Can I copy more than the accepted limits? 

You must seek permission from the copyright holder if you want to copy more than what is considered reasonable and appropriate within the law. 

What is 'fair dealing'? 

Fair dealing is a legal term which is used to determine whether material has been copied lawfully or whether it infringes copyright. The amount copied must be reasonable and appropriate to what it is being used for and it should not affect the copyright holder's ability to exploit their own work. 

 Can I include an image in my essay, dissertation, or thesis? 

The proportion of a work that can be copied and included in an essay, dissertation, or thesis is limited by 'fair dealing'. It can only be included if it is necessary to illustrate a point being made and not for aesthetic reasons. It must also not impact the copyright holder's ability to exploit their own work. 

 Where can I find resources that I can use? 

There are many resources available on the internet where you can find information, images, and other resources where the copyright holders allow people to use what they have created beyond the restrictions imposed by copyright law.  More information can be found in Finding and using images, video, and audio resources. The licence of each resource should be read to ensure you can do what you want with the resource. 

 Where can I find more information about copyright? 

Some basic copyright guidance for students is provided by JISC in the Copyright guide for students. 

How does copyright affect me - for Academic Staff

Can I make printed or digital copies for teaching purposes? 

Members of academic staff and Document Services can photocopy extracts from printed works for including in course packs or handing out to a class of students as long as they are owned by the University and are covered by the Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA) Licence. 

A photocopy may be made from a print of a digital copy owned or licenced by the University, although it would be better to provide a link to the digital copy. 

Only specific Library and Computing Services staff may create digital copies (pdfs) for inclusion in Reading Lists. Digitised extracts must be reported to the CLA annually to ensure that we are compliant with our CLA licence. Please contact your Information Manager for more information. 

Note: Digital copies cannot be created if the material is not owned or subscribed to by the University but it may be possible to purchase a copyright fee paid copy from the British Library. 

How do I know whether I can copy an extract from a book or journal? 

You can check whether a book or journal is covered by our Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA) licence by using the CLA's CheckPermissions site. 

The University must own a copy of the book or journal or it may be possible to purchase a copyright fee paid copy from the British Library. 

How much of a book or journal can be copied? 

Under the CLA licence you can copy the following or up to 10% which ever is the greater: 

1 chapter from a book 

1 article from a journal 

How many copies can be made? 

The number of copies that can be made is restricted to the number of students on a course of study and the lecturer. 

Can material be copied for use on a whiteboard? 

Yes, copied material can be used on a whiteboard subject to the following conditions: 

  • It is 'fair dealing'. 
  • It does not impact the copyright holder's ability to exploit their own work. 
  • The purpose of using the copy must be 'illustration for instruction' under copyright law. 

Or 

  • It is covered by the CLA licence. 
  • It is used to illustrate a tutorial or lecture. 
  • Only students on the course of study are in attendance. 

Can material used on a whiteboard be copied into StudyNet? 

Yes, subject to the following conditions: 

  • It is 'fair dealing'. 
  • The purpose of using the copy in StudyNet is 'illustration for instruction'. 
  • Access to the copied work should be restricted to the students who are enrolled on the particular course. 

Can digital copies be put in StudyNet? 

Yes, digital copies, made by specific Library and Computing Services staff and which comply with the CLA licence: 

  • may be made available for a specific course module via the Talis Reading Lists, enabling students to access them directly. 

Can I show a film or DVD in a class? 

Yes, as long as only the students and teacher in that class view them and it is for the purpose of instruction. More information can be found here. 

Can clips from DVDs or from a website be put in StudyNet for students? 

Yes, subject to the following conditions: 

  • It is 'fair dealing'. 
  • The purpose of using the clip in StudyNet is 'illustration for instruction'. 
  • It does not impact the copyright holder's ability to exploit their own work. 
  • The use must be non-commercial and the copyright holder must be acknowledged. 
  • Access to the copied work should be restricted to the students who are enrolled on the particular course. 

Can images e.g. photographs of works of art, be included in a PowerPoint presentation and put in StudyNet for students? 

Yes, subject to the following conditions: 

  • It is 'fair dealing'. 
  • The purpose of using the image in StudyNet is 'illustration for instruction'. 
  • It does not impact the copyright holder's ability to exploit their own work. 
  • Each case is different and it must be judged as to whether the amount used is reasonable and appropriate. 
  • The use must be non-commercial and the copyright holder must be acknowledged. 
  • Access to the copied work should be restricted to the students who are enrolled on the particular course. 
  • It may be advisable to use low-resolution photographs. 

Or 

  • The CLA Licence allows a whole-page visual image or dis-embedded part-page visual images to be scanned. 

Can I send an email to students and attach a pdf of an article or chapter? 

You cannot provide a pdf/digital copy of an article or chapter to your students directly. A record of all digital copies made must be kept for reporting to the CLA. If the article or chapter is born-digital then it would be better to provide a link to your students. 

If you want a digital copy made from a print version then please contact your Information Manager for more information. 

Can I copy web-based material into StudyNet? 

Web-based material is protected by copyright law so you should not copy extracts into StudyNet without permission. Limited copying is permitted under the CLA HE licence. You may provide students with an URL to a website but you should avoid 'deep linking' to an internal page of a website. You can provide a link to the Homepage, instructions on how to navigate to the intended page and advise students to view the website's copyright information. 

Can material be copied from a staff-owned copy? 

Yes, under the following exceptional circumstances: 

  • when the University is unable to acquire a printed book, journal or magazine, or a copyright fee paid copy. 
  • where there is no suitable digital version available. 
  • the reason for making the copy is recorded. 
  • an alternative copy may also be copied where the University owns or subscribes to an original version. 

Members of academic staff and Document Services can photocopy extracts from printed works for including in course packs. 

Only designated persons may create digital copies. Please contact your Information Manager for more information. 

When would direct permission be required from the copyright holder? 

  • when the amount that needs to be copied exceeds the limits of the University licence or is not 'fair dealing'. 
  • where the title is not covered by the CLA licence. 
  • where the source material is not owned or subscribed to by the University. 

Permission should be obtained in writing and a copy retained for future reference. 

Can third-party material used as 'illustration for instruction' be included in a lecture recording? 

Third-party material can be captured in a lecture recording as long as the original work is sufficiently acknowledged and it is also subject to 'fair dealing'. Access to the recorded lecture should be made available to the students and staff who require access for the purpose of instruction via their StudyNet module page. 

Where can I find resources that I can use? 

There are many resources available on the internet where you can find information, images, and other resources where the copyright holders allow people to use what they have created beyond the restrictions imposed by copyright law.  More information can be found in Finding and using images, video, and audio resources. The licence of each resource should be read to ensure you can do what you want with the resource. 

Can digital copies be used for Online Distance Learning Courses or MOOCs? 

Refer to additional staff guidance here. 

Where can information be found about intellectual property rights? 

 Intellectual Property and Contract Support (IPACs). This is a service for UH staff who require help with intellectual property or contracting matters relating to commercial or academic engagement with external bodies. If you think that your research could be commercially exploited or patented, you need to discuss this with your supervisor and liaise with IPACS. 

This tutorial gives a brief introduction to IPR and copyright. 

Where can you find more information about copyright? 

Copyright guide for students is provided by JISC which contains some basic copyright guidance that can be referred to when advising students about copyright. 

How does copyright affect me - for Researchers

Can I copy from printed materials e.g. books and journals? 

Under copyright law, researchers are able to copy from printed materials for non-commercial research and private study subject to the following conditions: 

The proportion of a work that can be copied is limited by 'fair dealing'. 

It is generally considered that it is acceptable to copy: 

1 chapter of a book or 5%. 

1 journal article from an issue. 

Only a single copy may be made and the source of the copy should be acknowledged. 

Can I copy from electronic materials e.g. e-books and e-journals? 

Under copyright law, researchers are able to copy from electronic material for non-commercial research and private study subject to the following conditions: 

The proportion of a work that can be copied is limited by 'fair dealing'. 

Please check terms and conditions for the electronic book or journal. 

It is generally considered that it is acceptable to copy: 

1 chapter of a book or 5%. 

1 journal article from an issue. 

Only a single copy may be made and the source of the copy should be acknowledged. 

Can I copy from sound recordings, films, and broadcasts? 

Under copyright law, students are able to copy extracts from sound recordings, films, and broadcasts for non-commercial research and private study. 

The proportion of a work that can be copied is limited by 'fair dealing', only a single copy may be made and the source of the copy should be acknowledged. 

Can I copy from a website? 

Check the terms and conditions on the website as material on the internet is protected by copyright law unless otherwise stated. 

Under the 'fair dealing' exception the amount you copy must be reasonable and appropriate to what it is being used for and it should not affect the copyright holder's ability to exploit their own work. It would be for your own private study or research. 

Can I copy more than the accepted limits? 

You must seek permission from the copyright holder if you want to copy more than what is considered reasonable and appropriate within the law. 

What is 'fair dealing'? 

Fair dealing is a legal term which is used to determine whether material has been copied lawfully or whether it infringes copyright. The amount copied must be reasonable and appropriate to what it is being used for and it should not affect the copyright holder's ability to exploit their own work. 

Can I include an image in my essay, dissertation, or thesis? 

The proportion of a work that can be copied and included in an essay, dissertation, or thesis is limited by 'fair dealing'. It can only be included if it is necessary to illustrate a point being made and not for aesthetic reasons. It must also not impact the copyright holder's ability to exploit their own work. 

Where can I find resources that I can use? 

There are many resources available on the internet where you can find information, images, and other resources where the copyright holders allow people to use what they have created beyond the restrictions imposed by copyright law.  More information can be found in Finding and using images, video, and audio resources. The licence of each resource should be read to ensure you can do what you want with the resource. 

 Where can I find more information about copyright? 

Some basic copyright guidance for students is provided by JISC in the Copyright guide for students. 

Can I show a film at UH? 

There are 3 circumstances under which films can be shown at the University:

Educational Purposes

The screening of a film for educational purposes is covered by the Education Exception (S.34.2) under the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988.

This is for lectures and teaching attended by UH registered students and staff members only.

Lecture recordings should be paused when films are being shown.

Free events including film clubs and social screenings

The University holds a Public Video Screening Licence (PVSL) provided by Filmbankmedia which allows educational institutions to hold film clubs and screen films for entertainment purposes subject to the following conditions:

    1. Library and Computing Services (LCS) must be notified of the film screening in order to make a return to Filmbank media.
    2. The screening is attended only by UH registered students and staff members (the event organiser must verify attendance by checking UH ID cards on entry).
    3. There is no charge, under any guise, made for entry to the film or area where the film is being screened.
    4. The audience must not exceed 249 and the screening is in an enclosed space.
    5. The film must be from a participating studio and distributor and not be on the Excluded Films list. This list is updated regularly by Filmbank Media.
    6. A shop bought DVD or Blu-ray of the film may be used but Netflix, Amazon Prime, or any other video streaming service may not be used.
    7. The film screening can be promoted or advertised by posters, emails, and newsletters. Social media must not be used e.g. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.  
    8. Films may be shown as background screenings in order to create an atmosphere or ambience, where the audience is transient and is not expected to watch the whole film.
    9. Outdoor screenings are not permitted.

More details about the terms of this licence and guidelines for use can be found here.

The film should be suitable for the audience viewing it.

Action required:

1. Complete and submit the Film Screening Notification Form.

2. If you need assistance in choosing the correct licence for your screening, please contact the Helpdesk.

Public or Commercial or Non-educational events

All other circumstances where a film is to be shown will require a Single Title Screening Licence (STSL) which is also available from Filmbankmedia.

These circumstances include but are not limited to:

    1. Public screenings where anyone can attend - this includes outdoor screenings where it is not possible to control access and viewing.
    2. Screenings for private hire such as Conferences or external companies.
    3. Commercial screenings where a fee is paid to attend.
    4. Screenings for audiences above 250.
    5. Amazon prime or any other video streaming service must not be used.
    6. FAQs about this licence can be found here.

Action Required:

1. Procure the licence for the film from Filmbankmedia and a licenced copy of the DVD or Blu-Ray. The film must not be on the Excluded Films list (which is regulary updated) and must be from a participating studio and distributor.

2. Complete and submit the Film Screening Notification Form.  

3. If you need assistance in choosing the correct licence for your screening, please contact the Helpdesk.

How can Turnitin be used to avoid plagiarism? 

Plagiarism is the use of another person’s work by an individual, whether intentionally or otherwise, without acknowledgement of the author. 

Turnitin is a text matching tool that identifies and highlights any part of your work that has been found in other sources. When you submit your work to Turnitin it will provide you with an electronic report which shows you whether any of your text matches work that has already been submitted or published by somebody else. 

What are Creative Commons licences? 

Creative Commons (CC) is a method of licensing work that allows people to use a copyright work in ways that they could not normally do under copyright law. 

CC allows a creator to licence their work in the way that is most suitable to their requirements. There are 4 licence types that can be combined to create a licence: 

Attribution- allows other people to copy, distribute, display and perform your work as long as they acknowledge you as the creator. 

Share-Alike- allows other people to distribute derivative (altered) works under the same licence that applies to your work. 

Non-Commercial- allows other people to copy, distribute, display and perform your work for non-commercial purposes only. Anyone using the work must not profit from it. 

No Derivative Works- allows other people to copy, distribute, display, and perform your work but the work must not be altered in any way. 

e.g. an Attribution Non-Commercial licence would permit other people to copy, distribute, display, and perform your work for non-commercial purposes and as long as they acknowledge you as the creator. 

Additional information and links

This video gives an excellent explanation of the different 'attribution' or licence elements of CC.

See this list of organizations and projects that provide services using CC licences.

A useful infographic explaining CC attribution for photographs.

CC Search. Search for CC images, text, video, or audio to find content you can use, remix and share. Gives access to search services provided by other independent organizations and CC has no control over the results that are returned, so you should always verify that the work is actually under a CC licence by following the link.

Creatives - protect your work

See the Design and Artists Copyright Society's factsheets and the British Library's protecting your ideas.

Additional information and links. 

 

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Please refer to the LCS Service Status page for updates on service availability. https://status.herts.ac.uk. Online and telephone support is available 08:00 to 17:00 Monday - Friday with telephone support only available outside of these times