Copyright is an important element to consider when using resources.


“Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author.” 

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Copyright is a very complex area, so these notes should not be relied upon as legal advice or as a definitive statement of the law.

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What is Copyright?

Copyright is a right granted by law that gives the creators of literary, dramatic, musical, electronic or artistic works the ability to control ways their work is used and to earn a fair reward for that use.

In the case of authors and publishers it provides a means for them to earn a living by writing and publishing. Copyright law also protects sound recordings and films (CDs, videos and DVDs) as well as computer software and broadcasts. Copyright is part of a family of intellectual property (IP) rights recognised under UK law. Other forms of IP that enjoy legal protection include Designs, Patents and Trademarks.

Copyright law in the UK is automatic and work is legally protected the moment it is created in material form, e.g. written down or recorded. The legal owner in the first instance is the creator (author) of the work. The main exception to this is when the work is created in the course of employment and in these cases the copyright usually belongs to the employer.