Skip to Main Content

Subject guides

Copyright Right!: Home

What you need to know to use other people's work legitimately in support of your learning, teaching and research


Welcome to our Library Guide to Copyright

It provides a basic introduction to copyright and the relevant legislation and licenses. The section on Leganto goes on to cover how copies from published works can be disseminated to students on a particular module via their reading list and any copyright compliance issues will be taken care of by staff based in the Library.

We hope this guide will help you to use other people's work legitimately in your teaching and learning at the University. If you would like to make any comments concerning this guide or if you have a specific enquiry concerning copyright don't hesitate to get in touch.

NB. Copyright legislation is evolving and the terms and conditions of the institutional licences we hold adapt to this changing environment. Therefore this guide is necessarily a 'work in progress' There are more sections coming soon, but if you need further advice or would like to suggest the focus for another section please contact Chris below.

What is copyright ?

Copyright is an Intellectual Property Right that protects original creative works from unfair use. To benefit from copyright protection a work must be original and ‘fixed’ in some way e.g. written down. Though copyright works often carry the © symbol, works do not need to be registered or carry the symbol to benefit from copyright protection e.g. a letter, a painting or a sculpture could all be ‘in copyright’. In the United Kingdom the main piece of legislation that defines and protects copyright is the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 as updated by a raft of Statutory Instruments and subsequent legislation. Several small but significant changes were introduced in 2014/15, largely in response to the Hargeaves Review.

Why do you need to know about copyright ?

If a work is in copyright and you want to use all or part of it in a work of your own you need to know whether you can do so legitimately i.e. legally. Even if a work is made freely available e.g. on the Internet, you must not assume that you can copy and use it without permission.

If the copyright in a work has expired it is said to be 'In the Public Domain' and you can use it. Some copyright works are made available under Terms and Conditions, Open Access or Creative Commons Licences that allow you to use them in specific ways. There is provision in law (The CDPA 1988) that allows certain "Permitted Acts", and the University also pays for a number of Blanket Licences that allow use of copyright works for teaching and learning purposes under certain prescribed conditions. You need to have a basic understanding of which of these, if any, will enable you to use a work in the way you want.

Your responsibility to abide by copyright

The University is obliged to make staff aware of Copyright and the terms of our blanket licences by making information available via leaflets, posters and web pages. However, it is the responsibility of each individual to ensure that they do not infringe copyright.


Profile Photo
Christopher Beevers
01484 472051