Welcome to the Kingston University Copyright site
- What is copyright?
- Who owns copyright?
- What protection does copyright provide?
- How long does copyright last?
- Can I use copyright materials at all?
- What copyright licences does the University hold?
- Where can I get more information about copyright?
What is copyright?
Copyright is a property right which is protected in law by the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.
In short copyright provides legal protection for the products of human skill, creativity and intelligence. Ideas alone do not enjoy copyright protection; in English Law it is the original expression of an idea or information that is protected.
Copyright protects the following types of work:
- Literary works (this includes the written word as well as the spoken word)
- Dramatic works (a work capable of being performed before an audience such as a film script)
- Musical works
- Sound recordings
- Artistic works
Provided that the work is:
- Original – in other words, not copied. There must also have been some skill, labour or judgement used in the creation of the work
- Fixed – recorded in a permanent, material form
- Created by a qualifying person – a UK national or another person covered by international treaty
Ideas alone do not enjoy copyright protection. In English law it is the original expression of an idea or piece of information that is protected.
Copyright protection applies automatically upon creation: there is no need to register or claim copyright. The © is not a legal requirement but its use is customary in published works.
Who owns copyright?
The first copyright owner is usually the creator or author of a work. One notable exception is for works created by an employee during the normal course of their employment where the employer will be the copyright owner.
As a property right, copyright can be traded in the same way as any other type of property, and in practice it is not unusual for authors to assign copyright to third parties such as publishers or record companies. However, the emergence of the Open Access Movement, self archiving initiatives and Creative Commons Licensing is beginning to challenge this kind of publishing model.
What protection does copyright provide?
The Copyright, Designs and Patents Act ensures that copyright owners are free to exploit their work in any way they wish for a set amount of time. This is achieved by providing copyright owners with a set of exclusive rights referred to as economic rights and moral rights.
Economic rights relate to the copyright owner’s exclusive right to exploit their work for financial gain. The Act states that only the copyright owner has the right to:
- Make copies of the work
- Publish the work
- Adapt the work
- Perform the work
- Lend the work
- Broadcast or transmit the work
These are usually known as restricted acts. A person will be infringing copyright if they undertake any of the above unless:
- They have a defence in law (see ‘Can I use copyright materials at all?’)
- They have an entitlement to use the work under a licensing scheme (see ‘What licences does the University hold?’)
- They have the explicit permission of the copyright owner
Moral rights sit alongside economic rights to ensure that the author:
- Is recognised as the author of the work
- Does not have their work subject to derogatory treatment
- Does not have work falsely attributed to them
How long does copyright last?
The duration of copyright protection varies depending on the type of work:
- For literary, dramatic and musical works where the author is known copyright will last for the life of the author plus 70 years
- For literary, dramatic and musical works where the author is unknown copyright will last for 70 years following the year the work was first made available to the public
- For unpublished works created after 1969 copyright will last for the life of the author plus 70 years
- For unpublished works created before 1969 copyright will expire in 2039
- For sound recordings copyright will last for 50 years following the year of creation or the year the work was first made available to the public
Can I use copyright materials at all?
Although the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act gives authors and copyright owners the exclusive right to exploit their work, it also seeks to balance these rights with the right of the general public to access and use protected works. This balance seeks to recognise, that on occasion, others can legitimately use protected materials without harming the economic or moral interests of copyright owners. A number of exceptions are listed in the Act but these exceptions do not represent a general right to copy. Instead, they set out the general circumstances under which an individual may defend claims of infringement.
Fair dealing exceptions are the most relevant to University members and visitors, as they relate primarily to the restricted act of copying. The fair dealing exceptions are widely understood to provide a permission to copy provided what is copied is ‘fair’, both in terms of the extent of the copying and the reasons for copying.
In practice only the Courts can decide what is fair, but useful questions to ask are:
- Am I copying more than a substantial part of the work?
- Is the integrity of the work damaged by my copying part of it?
- Am I planning to make more than one copy?
- Am I copying the material instead of buying it?
- Will I make a profit directly from the copy, or indirectly by using the copy?
If the answer to any of the questions above is yes, then the copying is unlikely to be considered fair.
Acceptable reasons for copying are:
- For the purposes of private study or non commercial research
- It is possible to make a single copy of a limited part of any literary, dramatic or artistic work for the purposes of private study or non commercial research
- The extent of the copy must not exceed
- For books the greater of one complete chapter or five percent of the whole work
- For journals one article from one issue
- One paper from one set of conference proceedings
- The report of one entire case for law reports.
- For the purposes of criticism or review
- It is possible to make a single copy of a limited part of any protected work which has previously been made available to the public for the purposes of criticism or review
- For the purpose of setting an examination
- With the exception of printed music, any amount of any work can be copied for the purposes of setting an examination
- Delivering film production instruction
- It is possible to make copies of films for the purposes of delivering instruction in film production and sound recording. However, where technical protection measures are in place it is not acceptable to circumvent them
Information on e-resource licences/terms and conditions
Use of e-resources made available through the University’s network and/or subscriptions are regulated by licence agreements or terms and conditions issued by their publishers or providers. This covers e-journals, e-books, bibliographic databases, and websites.
It is the responsibility of each member of staff or student at Kingston University to ensure that their use of e-resources falls within the activities permitted by the licences we have signed. If a licence breach occurs it could lead to e-resource access being terminated by the provider, and action taken against the person concerned.
What copyright licences does the University hold?
The University participates in the following licensing schemes:
- The Copyright Licensing Agency Trial Photocopying and Scanning Licence
- The Newspaper Licensing Agency Educational Licence
- The Educational Recording Agency Off Air Recording Licence
- Open University Worldwide Off Air Recording Licence
- Ordnance Survey Educational Licence
Staff at the University can obtain further information about current licensing arrangements on StaffSpace.
Please note that the licensing agreements listed above do not cover non-University members. Unfortunately, this includes alumni, retired staff and prospective students.
Where can I get more information about copyright?
The Copyright Clearance Officer is based within Information Services and is on hand to provide lay advice on all aspects of using third party copyright materials. The Copyright Clearance Officer can be contacted by email, telephone (020 8417 2090, or 62090 on campus) or in person in Penrhyn Road LRC.