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The University of Bolton Library

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For further help with copyright

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Steve Crimes

Introducing copyright

This pages relates to copyright generally. For information about open access copyright, take a look at the Open access and UBIR section of this guide.

What items are copyrighted?

Copyright protects all published works both in print or electronic format and can include for example the following:

Books, newspapers, pamphlets, journals, reports, art, maps, photographs, films, music, sound recordings, logos, podcasts, computer programs, databases, websites and all other publicly available content.

Who owns copyright in HE?

The author of a work is the first owner of copyright in that work. If an employee creates a literary, dramatic, musical, film or artistic work, the employer is the first owner of copyright. A student has ownership of any work that they create in university.

How long does copyright last?

Different terms apply to different media. For literary and artistic works, dramatic and musical works, and films and sound recordings copyright lasts until 70 years after the death of the author or if more than one, the last surviving author. For typographic material, it is 25 years from the publication of a particular edition. Crown Copyright lasts for 125 years.

What is copyright?

Copyright is a legal property right which encompasses a set of exclusive rights to control the reproduction of intellectual, creative and artistic material expressed in a physical form. UK Legislation which covers copyright is the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act (1988). There is no requirement or procedure to register copyright protection, it is automatic and applies to all physical formats, including the Internet. Copyright may be sold, transferred or licenced.

Of most relevance to academic libraries, UK Copyright law limits the amount of material that can be legally copied or distributed to others. To fulfill copyright obligations regarding the photocopying and scanning of materials, the University Library holds a licence with the Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA) and also the Educational Recording Agency (ERA) which covers recordings.

What do the CLA and ERA Licences allow:?

The CLA Licence allows University of Bolton staff and students to make single or multiple photocopies of limited extracts from copyright protected printed books, journals and magazines for distribution amongst staff and students, including distance students, for non-commercial and educational purposes. It also allows for such materials to be scanned for the purpose of distributing digital copies.

The ERA Licence permits any member of University staff to make recordings from the following providers: BBC television and radio, ITV network services (including ITV2 and ITV3), Channel 4, E4, More 4 and Film 4, Five Television and S4C. Viewing of such material is permitted for educational purposes both on and off-campus. Programmes from ‘on demand’ services such as BBC’s i-player, can only be recorded if the programme provider allows it.

Dos and Dont's

  • Familiarize yourself with copyright law

  • Assume that all material is copyright protected

  • Read copyright notices in publications, websites and those displayed near photocopiers and scanners for assistance

  • Adhere to the CLA licence limits when photocopying or scanning

  • Ensure that any visual or audio recording is done in accordance with the ERA licence

  • Buy all media from a legitimate store and/or website such as iTunes

  • Use short quotes from published work as long as they are properly referenced

  • Use resources such as Flickr, a photosharing site, which has a Creative Commons licence allowing re-use of material

  • Ignore copyright law or think it doesn’t apply to you or that nobody will find out. Infringing it is a serious offence.
  • Think just because the copyright symbol/message/notice isn’t displayed it’s not copyrighted, it is
  • Think just because you remove the copyright symbol/message/notice you can use it, it’s still copyrighted
  • Copy sound recordings, music CDs, films or broadcasts or download them from the web without permission or use peer-to-peer websites to get such material
  • Substitute copying for the purchase of books or copy works intended to be ‘consumable’ in the course of study, for example workbooks or lab manuals
  • Use logos, trademarks or photographs taken in archives, galleries or exhibitions without permission. Some companies regularly monitor the Web for infringement
  • Assume anything on the web is ok to use, just because its freely available doesn’t mean it is free from copyright. Check terms and conditions/copyright for use.
  • Make and distribute multiple copies of materials, distribute multiple copies of materials used semester after semester as this will infringement ‘Fair Use’ requirements

CLA Permissions Checker