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Copyright FAQ

The content of this document was last edited in 1999. However, it has been left in place as many parts of it may still be of interest. Other documents on digitiation and copyright can be found on the AHDS Copyright pages.


While the publishers and authors have endeavoured to ensure the accuracy of this document please note it does not constitute legal advice and no responsibility can be accepted for any action taken by its readers. Copyright law is complex and occasionally ambiguous. This document is intended as a quick reference guide and you are advised to check reference works listed below and/or seek legal advice for your specific circumstances.


This document has been edited and produced by the Arts and Humanities Data Service and the Technical Advisory Service for Images and is based on a selection of FAQ supplied by AHDS Centres and delegates at a series of copyright workshops organised by the Technical Advisory Service for Images (TASI) and the Visual Arts Data Service (VADS). Charles Oppenheim kindly agreed to read and comment on the answers provided in the initial draft and we are grateful for his input. Copyright © 1999 Arts and Humanities Data Service and Technical Advisory Service for Images


General questions

Fair Dealing

Copyright and the Internet

Copyright questions relating to digitised textual material

Questions specific to image copyright

Copyright and the performing arts

Specialist copyright questions

Some useful reference works and web sites on copyright

  1. What is and what is not protected by copyright?

    In the United Kingdom, virtually every work created by the labour, skill and judgement of individuals and institutions is covered by copyright as long as it meets certain conditions. These pre-requisites are:

    1. The work must be original
    2. The work must be in a material form. Ideas cannot be copyrighted, but the expression of those ideas into a physical format will gain copyright.

    There are several different categories under which different materials are classified in the 1988 Copyright Act and subsequent amendments and additions. The Table below outlines the major categories and their lifetimes, but you should check appropriate texts for more details:

    CategoryMaterials included in categoryLifetime of Copyright Protection
    Literary WorksWritten works. Includes lyrics, tables, compilations, computer programmes, letters, memoranda, e-mail and WWW pages.Authors life plus 70 years after death.
    Anonymous/corporation authors: 70 years from year of publication. Special rules for unpublished works.
    Dramatic WorksPlays, works of dance and mime, and also the libretto of an opera.Authors life plus 70 years after death.
    Crown CopyrightAll works made by Her Majesty or by an officer or servant of the Crown in the course of his or her dutiesPublished work: 50 years from the end of the year when first published.
    Unpublished work:125 years beyond the year it was created
    Parliamentary CopyrightAll works made by or under the direction or control of the House of Commons or House of LordsMostly 50 years beyond year it was created. Exceptions include bills of parliament.
    Musical WorksMusical scoresAuthors life plus 70 years after death.
    Artistic WorksGraphic works (painting, drawing, diagram, map, chart, plan, engraving, etching, lithograph, woodcut), Photographs (not part of a moving film), sculpture, collage, works of architecture (buildings and models for buildings), and artistic craftsmanship (e.g. jewelry).Authors/creators life plus 70 years after death.
    Computer Generated WorksLiterary, dramatic and musical works50 years from first creation or 50 years from creation if unpublished during that time.
    DatabasesCollections of independent works, data or other materials which (a) are arranged in a systematic or methodical way, or (b) are individually accessible by electronic or other means.Full term of other relevant copyrights in the material. protected. In addition, there is a database right for 15 years (this can roll forward)
    Sound RecordingsRegardless of medium or the device on which they are played50 years from first publication.
    FilmsAny medium from which a moving image may be reproduced.70 years from death of whoever is the last to survive from: principle director, author of dialogue, composer of film music.
    BroadcastsTransmissions via wireless telegraphy through the air (not via cable or wires), includes satellite transmissions50 years from when broadcast first made.
    Cable ProgrammesServices via cable.50 years from when broadcast first made
    Published EditionsThe typography and layout of a literary, dramatic or musical work.25 years from first publication.

  2. Is the 1988 Copyright Act retrospective?

    No. The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 only covers works that have been created since 1 August 1989 when the Act came into force. For works created before that date, you have to refer to the previous copyright legislation and any transitional provisions in the 1988 Act. However, the 'Duration of Copyright and Rights in Performances Regulations 1995', was retrospective and harmonised the situation regarding the length of copyright protection for existing works irrespective of when they were created.

  3. What exactly does the 1988 Copyright Act state? Is a simple summary available?

    The full text of the 1988 Act is published by HMSO. However, there have been many Statutory Instruments amending it since, so you should not rely on this as a source. Some law publishers, such as Butterworths, sell copies of the Act incorporating all the amendments. Copyright is a complex area and difficult to summarise but there are a number of excellent guides to copyright which explain relevant legislation for a general reader. A selection is provided

  4. Are database structures and their contents protected by copyright law?

    Yes. The "Copyright and Rights in Databases Regulations 1997" (SI 3032) came into place on 1 January 1998, which introduced a 'Database Right' and copyright for databases. A database is defined as:

    "a collection of independent works, data or other materials which
    (a) are arranged in a systematic or methodical way, or
    (b) are individually accessible by electronic or other means."

    To gain copyright, a database must show sufficient intellectual creativity or selection in its creation. Each individual item included in the database may or may not be in copyright. Irrespective of whether the database is entitled to full copyright protection then it is given a Database Right. This lasts for 15 years but can last in perpetuity as the 15 year period of protection rolls forward if changes and updates or other sufficient investments are made to it in this period.

  5. Do moral rights exist in Databases ?

    Yes, in theory as for all literary works. However, most databases are employee created - and those don't attract moral rights.

  6. a) What resources are available to help establish which authors are still in copyright?

    There is no national register for Copyright works in the UK. However certain interest groups have been formed to look after common interests, negotiate licences, and collect fees. The Copyright Licensing Agency is one such interest group that has been set up to look after the interest of authors and publishers. It licences a number of bodies such as: schools, colleges, universities, government departments etc. Licences are given to photocopy extracts from periodical, journals and books. The CLA can be contacted at:

    90 Tottenham Court Road, London, W1P OLP.
    Tel: 1071 436 5931
    Fax: 0171 436 3986

    There is a wide range of other interest and advisory groups covering other areas and materials. The CLA also maintain a directory of other copyright interest groups and source of advice on their website.

    b) and how do I find out who owns the copyright of a particular work?

    Normally a published work will include a copyright notice giving details of the copyrightholder(s). Where there is no copyright notice, if there is details of authorship you can contact the author and check the copyright in the work.

    A useful online resource for researchers is WATCH (Writers, Artists, and Their Copyright Holders). This maintains the WATCH File, a database containing primarily, but not exclusively, the names and addresses of copyright holders or contact persons for authors and artists whose archives are housed, in whole or in part, in libraries and archives in North America and the United Kingdom.

    Failing this, the first thing to do would be to contact the interest groups to find out if the piece is in copyright and whether they represent the author. If they did then you could negotiate with the group to copy and use the materials.

    If none of the interest groups or online databases knows or represents the author of a particular work then you will be in a much more difficult position. You would then have to research the author of the work, and, if different, the copyright owner (it may be the author's employer or publisher). Tools to use would be: telephone directories and directories of authors. If you have no luck then contact the publisher (if known) and ask for the relevant information. If the copyright owner still remains unknown at this point then it might be worth putting an advert into a trade journal or a national newspaper asking for the information.

  7. What happens when it is unclear who holds copyright? Are keepers owners, or is it far more complicated?

    Ownership of a physical object does not convey ownership of copyright and the situation is indeed more complicated. As explained in the answer to the last question you will need to research copyright ownership. The creator may not always be the copyright holder. This can arise through two situations:

    1. the person who created the piece of work was employed at the time, and the work was created as part of his/her duties. In this situation the copyright owner is the employer.
    2. the original creator may have sold, given or bequeathed the copyright to one person, but sold, given or bequeathed the physical object to another person. In this situation the owner of the physical object does not own the copyright, the person who bought or was given the copyright does.

  8. What happens to the Copyright in an object when the company that owned it no longer exists or has been taken over?

    Copyright remains with the original owner. If the owner has been acquired, the new owner gets the copyright. If the company (say) goes bust, the copyright exists, but bizarrely no one owns it.; it is then probably okay to reproduce it as there is no one around to sue (but do make sure someone didn't pick up the pieces...).

  9. What is the copyright position of academics funded by each of the funding agencies that require/recommend deposit with the AHDS? For example, do Leverhulme maintain any kind of copyright on products of the projects that they fund?

    Each of the funding agencies provides information to applicants on copyright of materials generated from research that they fund. Most of the funding agencies recommend or require digital resources generated from funded research to be offered for deposit with the AHDS. In each case copyright in materials deposited with the AHDS is retained by the copyright holder(s) and the AHDS agrees terms of access to the data with them. A pro-forma licence agreement which regulates the terms and conditions for resources deposited with the AHDS is available for potential depositors. The pro-forma licence agreement is non-exclusive and the copyright holder(s) can use, publish, or distribute the data elsewhere if required. AHDS Subject Centres will be happy to discuss terms of deposit with copyright holders and third parties such as publishers. Further information is available from the AHDS
    Deposit pages and AHDS Rights Management Framework.

  10. Do students own the copyright in their own work? This question is asked with particular reference to photographs and websites of degree shows and materials produced.

    In general yes, but no if they have signed a copyright assignment passing all copyright to their University. Universities should be careful not to reproduce artistic materials produced by art/design etc. students unless they have received that assignment!

  11. Does the contract which students sign when studying at university generally have implications for copyright law pertaining to the work they produce?

    To have any effect, there must be an explicit clause along the lines of "I, Ms Student, agree to assign the copyright in anything I produce whilst a student, to the University of ABC." General regulations that a student signs have no impact at all - either there is such an explicit assignment, or else copyright remains with the student.

  12. What defines the rights of employee and employer regarding copyright? Must this be arranged explicitly in a contract of employment?

    The 1988 Act states that copyright in any work created by an employee in the course of his/her employment is owned by the employer unless there is an agreement to the contrary. The position is reversed for freelance contractors who own the copyright in their work unless the contract with their client specifies otherwise.

    Ownership of intellectual property rights and benefits from them are often defined in contracts of employment or institutional policies linked to them. It is generally better for both the individual and the employer, or the contractor and his client, if any contract states explicitly what the situation is with copyright and other intellectual property rights, i.e. who will own materials created or what rights to them are being granted.

  13. What is the difference between copyright and intellectual property rights?

    The term intellectual property rights includes copyright but also covers a wider range of rights such as trade-marks, patents, or performance and recording rights. Effectively copyright is a sub-set of intellectual property rights. However in common use the term copyright is sometimes confused or substituted as a "shorthand" for IPR.

  14. Do Moral Rights actually exist before they are asserted?

    Only the right to be identified as the author needs to be asserted. All the others are automatic.

  15. In cases where multiple people hold copyright, is there an order of precedence? For example if the first copyright holder refuses permission for use but the second gives permission, what do we do? What happens if not all the people who hold copyright can be traced?

    There is no order of precedence when the copyright is jointly owned or there are multiple separate copyrights in a work. All copyright holders in that piece of work have to give permission for it to be used. If some of the people who hold the copyright cannot be traced, despite making best endeavours to do so, and you have permission from the others, then you may wish to seek legal advice on how you should proceed. In some cases the collective agencies may be able to grant permission to you.

  16. How do the differences in copyright law among the different nations in the UK, and different countries in Europe, affect the AHDS? Do we need to know in detail about all of these copyright laws?

    There are no differences in copyright law between the different nations in the UK. There are different copyright laws in European countries although a number of EU Directives have harmonised aspects of copyright law between the EU member states. Similarly the Berne Convention and Universal Copyright Convention provide basic minimum copyright laws and reciprocal rights for nationals in all the signatories' territories internationally. In practice therefore these differences rarely impact on the AHDS as the majority of its materials are generated in the UK or are subject to UK copyright provisions. However if you are using materials created overseas you should check whether they may constitute a special case.

  17. Can I/how do I exert my own copyright over a work I have digitised?

    Copyright in any work that you have created (apart from that whilst employed - subject to contract) is automatic as long as you meet the three specifications in FAQ 1 answer. You do not have to register the work (indeed there is no agency to do so), pay a fee or undergo any type of bureaucratic process. You do not even have to attach the internationally recognised Copyright symbol (©). However if you were to put the copyright symbol on the piece of work, it serves as a useful reminder to others that what they are looking at (and thinking of copying!) is protected by copyright. A typical copyright statement might look like: © 1999 University of Bristol All rights reserved

    Because there is no bureaucratic process to prove that you are the copyright owner it can sometimes be difficult to prove ownership. However in extreme cases, there are ways of proving that your work existed at a particular point in time, which could be used as evidence in the case of copyright disputes. The first way would be to deposit a copy of the work with a bank or solicitor. The second would be to send a copy of the work to yourself via registered post, and then leaving the envelope unopened on its arrival.

  18. How is fair dealing defined in a legal context?

    The 1988 Act states that fair dealing with a literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work for the purposes of research or private study, criticism or review, or for the purpose of reporting current events, does not infringe any copyright in the work, or the typographic arrangement of a published edition.

    Fair dealing in this context applies to individuals acting on their own behalf. Fair dealing within strict parameters also exists for certain libraries and archives.

    The term fair is not defined, but you can take it to mean 'not unduly prejudicial to the copyright owners' legitimate commercial interests' and is usually considered in terms of financial loss. Often large institutions or collective agencies publish guidelines on what they consider to be reasonable in terms of fair dealing for their copyright materials.

    Fair dealing, is a defence against the charge of copyright infringement, and as such it can be a risky defence in court. The onus will be on you (as the alleged infringer of copyright) to prove that you were using copyright materials under the terms of fair dealing.

    The permitted purposes for fair dealing are:

    • research or private study - any kind of research (not necessarily linked to a course) including that for profit (although - confusingly - you cannot fair deal in databases for the purposes of commercial research)
    • criticism or review - for example you may quote a passage from a book that is in copyright if you are writing a review of that book
    • reporting current events - it has to be a topical event

    Please note that use of electronic materials will invariably require permission or licence from the copyright holder. The JISC and the Publishers' Association have drawn up a Code of Practice on Fair dealing in the Electronic Environment and you should follow this guidance. See below.

  19. How can we present copyright guidelines so that a compromise is achieved between use and ensuring that people are not encouraged to break the law?

    The provisions for fair dealing provide the legal background for what is permitted. It is important that the legal implications of copyright are made clear to users and the laws are not broken. If you present a "compromise", you and your institution may be a party to any copyright infringement action which arises from this.

  20. Whose area of jurisdiction applies when images are downloaded over the Internet from e.g. Australia or USA. Are those images governed by the law of the country in which they were generated?

    For infringements of copyright the jurisdiction of the nation where the infringement took place applies. Images are covered by the copyright law of the country in which they were generated and would automatically be protected in most other countries of the world, as most are signatories of the Berne Convention. The Berne Convention gives reciprocal protection to other countries copyright works.

    Downloading images from the Internet confuses issues, because it can sometimes be unclear where the orders came from and where the material is stored (the images may have been created in e.g. the UK and stored on a Web server in e.g. the USA). If, for example, a person in the UK was downloading some images that had a copyright symbol (©) attached, and the Web site was clearly an American site, then it would be an infringement of copyright. It is illegal to download/import (i.e. copy) material into the UK, which if you had made a copy of in the UK would have been an infringement of copyright.

    It is not so much important where the material was created as where the alleged infringement took place.

  21. Netiquette aside, is it illegal to link to someone's page without gaining their consent?

    It would be illegal to link and pass off the content in anyway as your own - in other areas the legal position on hyperlinking is unclear and has not been defined. Good practice would dictate that you seek permission from the Web master of the WWW site. However if you don't seek prior permission, it is again good practice to link to the home page of that Web site. This ensures that information on that site cannot be represented out of context.

  22. Netiquette aside, is it illegal to copy some text from someone's page with acknowledgement, but without their consent?

    Yes it is illegal to copy text from another person's Web site without their permission. This is infringement of their copyright and/or moral rights in that material. It does not matter that you have acknowledged them as the source of that material, you have still committed an illegal act. If you would like to use a piece of text from someone else's Web site, then you would have to treat it as you would any other piece of copyrighted work, i.e. gain permission (copyright clearance) to use it. This would mean that you would have to approach the Web site owner and state explicitly what piece of text you would like to use, and what precisely you would do with it. If permission was granted then you would only be able to use the material for the purposes stated, and you could be sued for infringement if you used it for other purposes.

  23. a) Is there a similar ruling covering copying from the Internet such as exists in libraries where it is legal to photocopy a fixed percentage of a work but no more?

    No but providers may provide a copyright statement and guidance on terms/permitted use for copying that they will allow without you approaching them for formal written permission or a licence.

    b) If no, is one likely to emerge?

    Not imminently, but organisations are working to put better guidance and licences in place. The JISC and the Publishers Association have published guidelines on electronic copying (see
    below) and the CLA is developing licences for electronic materials.

  24. Is it possible to assert individual ownership of the design or structure of a given Web site, as well as its contents.?

    All material placed on a Web site or Web server is protected by copyright. This includes the images/special features that make up the design of the site. So copying these images and special features is an infringement of copyright. It is much harder to assert copyright ownership of the 'structure' of the site. The structure of the site is defined by computer code. It is this computer code that is protected by copyright. The very nature of access to the Internet and individual Web sites, means that it is easy for people to copy and adapt the code (which is an infringement). It is difficult to prove in court that someone has copied your code/program - unless you do code/programme in a particular quirky and individual way!

  25. As the Internet has no geographical boundaries, am I bound by the copyright laws of the country which hosts my Internet account? Can I ignore other countries copyright laws?

    As yet, despite debate on the subject, there has been no agreement on which country's law should apply in this situation. However, most countries are signatories of the Berne Convention and the Universal Copyright Convention. Thus there may be a high probability that the country which hosts your Internet account is party to these Conventions, and you should respect the Copyright of that country, as it is very likely to have reciprocal protection in the UK.

    So, in such cases you can not ignore other countries copyright laws!

  26. Does digital material have any special copyright status?

    Digital materials are protected by copyright. They do not have any 'special' copyright status, although databases now have specific legal protection in their own right. Digital materials are classified as literary works (even digital images) because they are constructed of binary code.

  27. What are the implications of digitising a work by an out of copyright author, but from a modern printed edition of the work?

    The literary work is out of copyright but the typography (the layout of the book) will be protected by copyright. Typography of books comes under the classification of 'Published Editions'. So whilst digitising the text is not infringing any copyright, digitising from the modern printed edition will. Thus you could be sued for infringing copyright. In these instances it would be better to find an edition that is out of copyright and digitise from this. An alternative would be to just type in the text and save as a text file.

  28. In Canada James Joyce is out of copyright and so full electronic versions of his texts are appearing on Canadian Internet sites. As Joyce is not yet out of copyright in this country, are you breaking the law by visiting these sites and downloading this information? Also would it be illegal to hyperlink to these Canadian sites from the UK?

    Importation is infringement. It is not illegal to simply hyperlink to the home page of the offending site - you are simply drawing attention to the site, not inviting people to infringe.

    a) What happens if you bring the James Joyce disk from Canada into the UK?

    Infringement, see you in Court!

    b) What happens when the James Joyce material, downloaded is for individual research?

    This would be a possible defence, but fair dealing is a much weaker defence than most people assume.

  29. What is the status of authors who were in the public domain but have now gone back into copyright? (e.g. Conan Doyle)

    Under the "Duration of Copyright and Rights in Performances Regulations 1995", literary works created by authors who died between 1927 and 1946 have regained copyright, so you must ask permission from the copyright holder to make new use of the material. Even if the author is dead, the copyright may have been sold or bequeathed to a family member or friend. Therefore you will have to research who actually owns the copyright and ask for clearance.

  30. Please cite cases in which people have been sued for abuse of image copyright.

    The majority of copyright infringements are settled out of court unless a major agency or individual decides to prosecute to discourage other potential infringements or to clarify a point of copyright law. Copyright reference works contain examples of court cases.

  31. Which, if either, of the following scenarios is within the law?

    a) The artist has been dead for more than 70 years. A photograph is taken of one of his works and that is digitised ("scanned in") and then disseminated.

    This may be legal. The artist has been dead for more than 70 years and thus the copyright on his work has expired. However there may be objections in contract law to photography, digitisation and dissemination. Many museums and other holding institutions will only permit access for photography under specified conditions. Your actions could be in breach of such agreements. You should also be aware that the photograph itself will have its own copyright. If you do not own the copyright or have permission to digitise and disseminate it this will be an infringement.

    b) The artist has been dead for less than 70 years or is still alive. A photograph is taken of one of his works and that is digitised and then disseminated.

    This is not legal. The artist has been dead for less than 70 years and the material will still be in copyright. You will have to determine who holds the copyright to the original work and ask them for permission to take a photograph and then to digitise and disseminate. The copyright holder will most probably be reluctant in this case to issue permission for you to photograph, digitise and disseminate, especially if via a public Web site. However if it was for educational uses only e.g. a departments Intranet, the copyright holder may be more willing. To go ahead and photograph, digitise and disseminate without permission is in-advisable. You will most probably be sued for infringing copyright and (because you are disseminating) the damages and costs could be high.

  32. If reproduction rights for a painting are sold separately, how long do they exist legally?

    Copyright will continue for its full term.

  33. If a person requests permission to take a photograph of a certain picture, is it the responsibility of the person who has that picture in their care to explain to the photographer what the reproduction rights are?

    Any copyright in the picture exists automatically. It is your responsibility to have appropriate permission for photography if it is in copyright. In the case of any conditions for access and photography which will form a contract with the photographer - yes they must communicate the terms to you. However, ultimately responsibility lies with the person making the photograph, not the owner, and the fact that the owner fails to let you know the picture is in copyright is not a defence against an infringement action.

  34. A given photo has been used in a PhD thesis, and permission has been granted for that use by the gallery who owns the painting. What is the legal situation if that thesis was then to be disseminated?

    There are several answers to this depending on the situation. Not enough information is given in the question....

    If the gallery owns the copyright in the painting and the photograph, and permission was only granted for use of the photo within the PhD thesis (giving limited dissemination), then it would be an infringement of the copyright in the photo and the original painting to disseminate the thesis beyond the original permission given.

    If the gallery does not own the copyright to the painting (it is out of copyright), but does own the copyright in the photograph, then again this is an infringement of copyright in the photo if the PhD thesis is disseminated further.

    If the gallery does not own the copyright in the painting (it is out of copyright), and the photograph was taken by the PhD student (with permission from the gallery), then the copyright in the photograph is owned by the creator. Permission would have to sought from the former PhD author to disseminate this photo (through the thesis) to a wider audience. Assuming that the author asked permission from the gallery (for a fee or not) and was given under the good practice of 'informed consent' (i.e. the author stated clearly what purposes the photograph would be used for e.g. PhD thesis), then the author would have to go back again and check with the museum if they would mind if the photo was disseminated further. The museum may decide to charge another fee to grant permission.

    If the museum does not own the copyright in the original painting (it is owned by the creator), but they do own the physical object, then the PhD author would have had to gain permission from the copyright owner (permission to copy) and the museum (permission to take a photo) to photograph the painting. He/she would then own the copyright in his/her photograph, but would be unable to do anything with it other than the specified purpose i.e. use it within the PhD thesis (assuming this is the only right he/she asked for). The author would then have to re-negotiate rights to disseminate the thesis.

    It would be prudent to get the writer of the PhD thesis to sign an indemnity form, providing a warranty that that the PhD author has [written] permission to use the photograph and disseminate it further and indemnifying you against any breach of that warranty. Ideally you should obtain copies of any such permissions and retain them with the idemnity form in your records in case there is any future query or challenge.

  35. Is there a difference between the copyright status of a still image of a performance and a moving one, even if I have generated both formats myself?

    It is usual to ask permission to take stills photographs as well as to video performances. In the case of a still photograph, copyright rests with the photographer unless there has been a distinct and separate agreement with the subject. In the case of a moving image, or a sound recording, both the recorder and the subject have rights in the recording (the subject has performance rights). The person filming or recording cannot exploit his copies without the permission of the subject(s).

  36. Who can grant permission to copy or perform a copyright-protected composition either live or on a sound recording?

    The owner of the copyright has the right to grant permission for any public performances (including broadcasts). Ownership of the copyright begins with the composer, but the composer may have transferred ownership or contracted certain licensing rights to a publisher. Given the myriad ways in which a composition can be performed in venues worldwide, various conventions - and corresponding collection agencies - have been established to assist in the administration of these rights. The conventions for licensing performances of music depend on whether the composition is non-dramatic or dramatic.

    Dramatic works. Operas, ballets, and musical theatre works are dramatic works; the right to perform them is referred to as a "grand" right. Permission to perform any dramatic work must be obtained directly from the copyright owner or its licensee, which is often the publisher that sells or rents the performance materials.

    Non-dramatic works. Because it is impossible for any composer and/or publisher to monitor all performances of their compositions in all media (in concert halls, clubs, on radio, television, in movies, elevators, jukeboxes - anywhere that music is consumed in public - etc.), performing rights societies have been formed to license performances of copyright-protected music.

    When a composer or publisher becomes a member of a performing rights organisation, the organisation is granted the non-exclusive right to license non-dramatic performances on behalf of the copyright owner. This is also called a "small" right. A request for permission to perform a non-dramatic work should be made to the Performing Rights Society (address given below).

  37. What are the conditions under which off-air broadcasts may be recorded and stored?

    A broadcast programme may be recorded off-air simultaneously with broadcast transmission and retained by a non-profit educational institution for a short, specified period after date of recording. Upon conclusion of such retention period, all off-air recordings must be erased or destroyed immediately. "Broadcast programmes" are television programmes transmitted by television stations for reception by the general public without charge. Off-air recordings may be made only at the request of and used by individual teachers, and may not be regularly recorded in anticipation of requests. No broadcast programme may be recorded off-air more than once at the request of the same teacher, regardless of the number of times the program may be broadcast. Certain organisations may have agreements with broadcast companies to retain recordings.

  38. Can you copyright/trademark buildings? What if the architect is not dead - can you photograph the buildings? Can you design another building to look like another building?

    Architects drawings are copyright. The building itself is not, so you can photograph it. If you used the architect's own drawings and amended them, then that is infringement. If you started from scratch but deliberately chose to mimic a design, then you are probably okay. It would be advisable to consult a copyright lawyer at this point in time!

  39. Can you protect a mass produced item with copyright e.g. Mini car?

    In the production of the Mini car drawings of the design would have been produced. Those are protected by copyright. The shape of the object itself is best protected by Registered Design.

  40. On what material does the Ordnance Survey hold copyright? For how long? Can Ordnance Survey data be used on the Internet?

    All materials produced by the Ordnance Survey (OS) are covered by Crown Copyright and the OS administers this. Crown copyright in published material lasts 50 years from the end of the year of publication. Licences are issued by the Ordnance Survey and enquiries can be addressed to their copyright unit. Useful information on OS licences, conditions, and permitted use is available on their website (see
    below). Please note if you work within a HEI, the JISC on behalf of the Higher Education Funding Councils has negotiated a general licence scheme (effective from year 2000) for digitised OS data, and you check whether your institution has subscribed to the scheme and the rights that any such licences confer.

  41. An institution has produced a digital map (we assume vector format where the features can be edited) to sell to other institutions. An institution that has bought this digital map adds new data to the map. Does the map get a new copyright status by this (second) institution adding new data? Is it joint copyright?

    It is joint copyright, with the second institution just owning the copyright to the bits it added to the original map.

  42. What are the issues governing crown copyright which affect government publications?

    The main differences are:
    (a) Crown copyright is not affected by EU legislation to harmonise copyright and has a different copyright term to other materials;
    (b) All Crown copyright licences are non-exclusive and Crown copyright materials are available to, and can be published and disseminated by, different publishers;
    (c) Crown copyright is vested in the Crown and is usually administered by the Controller of HMSO (although the Crown copyright for Ordnance Survey and Hydrographic Office are effectively self-administered). Government bodies have delegated powers from HMSO which determine publication policy;
    (d) The status of employees of some government funded bodies have been changed by statute so they are no longer Crown servants: this includes most national museums and English Heritage. These institutions are therefore no longer covered by Crown copyright for any work or publications made since that date by their employees.
The JISC/TLTP Copyright Guidelines - an invaluable reference work for HE projects and researchers
JISC and Publishers Association guidelines on electrocopying
"Charles Oppenheim takes a look at some of the Web sites and Bulletin Boards that contain information on copyright issues."

Printed Publications

Lyons, P. (ed). JISC/TLTP Copyright Guidelines. JISC and TLTP 1998. (ISBN 1 900508 41 9)
An invaluable reference work for HE projects and researchers. Also available on the web (see above)

Oppenheim, C., Phillips, C., and Wall, R.A. The Aslib Guide to Copyright. This Guide published by The Association for Information Management is updated annually and provides an authoritative and accessible guide to copyright matters. The inclusion of the texts of relevant EEC Directives and UK legislation is particularly valuable.

Organisations and Websites

BAPLA- British Association of Picture Libraries and Agencies
18 Vine Hill
London EC1R 5DX
A valuable source of advice to members on image copyright and licensing

The Copyright Licensing Agency
90 Tottenham Court Road
London W1P 0LP
Information on the CLA, copyright, CLA licences, and an excellent directory of copyright organisations

Design and Artists Copyright Society
Parchment House
13 Northburgh Street
London EC1V 0AH
For information on copyright in artistic works, collection society for licensing of slide libraries etc.

Her Majesty's Stationery Office
(residual government body after privatisation). Site includes information on Crown and parliamentary copyright, the copyright unit, electronic texts of statutory instruments (SI), and publishing/copyright guidance notes.

Ordnance Survey
Romsey Road
Southampton SO9 4DH
Information on OS products, Crown copyright and licensing for OS mapping

Performing Rights Society Ltd
29-33 Berners Street,
London W1P 4AA

World Intellectual Property Organisation
For information on international copyright treaties.