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The University of Bolton Library


Everything you need to know about copyright


Essential information for staff and students at the University of Bolton on what copyright is, why you need to be aware of it, and how you can ensure that you comply with copyright legislation.

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 items are copyrighted? 

Copyright protects all published works both in print or electronic format and can include for example the following plus other publicly available content:

  • Original literary works such as books, novels, poems

  • Original musical works

  • Original dramatic works such as dance or mime

  • Works of art including paintings, photographs, sculptures and drawings

  • Computer programs, websites, podcasts

  • Sound recordings

  • Films

  • Broadcasts

  • Maps

  • Logos

How long does copyright last? 

Copyright can last for up to 125 years, however different time periods apply to different media and certain exceptions may apply, for example:

  •  For literary and artistic works, dramatic and musical works, and films and sound recordings copyright exists for 70 years after the death of the author or if more than one, the last surviving author (including director, producer, author of screenplay, composer of soundtrack)
  • Dramatic and musical work with no named author - 70 years from date of publication
  • Published sound recordings – 70 years from recording being made
  • Unpublished sound recordings – 50 years from recording being made
  • Broadcasts - 50 years from date of broadcast
  • Typographic material - 25 years from the publication of a particular edition
  • Crown Copyright lasts for 125 years.

Who owns copyright in HE?

The author of a work is usually the first owner of copyright of that work. If a University employee creates a piece of work as part of their job, then it is the University that is usually the first owner of copyright unless there is an agreement to the contrary. For further details, see the University Intellectual Property Rights Policy

A student at University has ownership of any work that they create while at University.

What permissions 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 Library can carry out scanning for academic staff as part of it's new Digitisation Service

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.

Responsibilities of the University

The University has a responsibility to:

  • Observe the terms of the CLA Licence and ensure all staff are aware of their obligations under the Licence
  • Pay the Licence fee on time
  • Co-operate with the CLA if asked to take part in a Royalties Data Collection exercise or audit