IPR and Copyright

Knowledge of rights and responsibilities in relation to Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) and copyright are essential when both using items owned or produced by others (articles. images, patented ideas, etc.) and protecting your research outputs.

Adherence to copyright legislation and licences is a University wide responsibility. All members of the University must observe and abide by the current copyright licensing arrangements and restrictions for the Higher Education sector, as published on the Copyright Licensing Agency website

What is Copyright?

Copyright is an intellectual property right. It protects works produced in any media including an artistic expression or performance. A copyright work may be tangible or virtual and can include anything that is made or created by a person for a limited time.

Copyright protection is automatic. Copying anything without permission breaches the owner’s copyright and is illegal. An author’s copyright can last for 70 years after the author’s death. Published editions of authors’ works have copyright for 25 years from the date of publication. Copyright on works made during a course of employment by an employee rest with the employer unless specifically agreed otherwise.

If you have a query about copyright that cannot be answered by the information here then please email

Online Copyright

The majority of resources stored in electronic format such as e-journals e-books and material on the internet will be subject to copyright restrictions, unless there is an explicit statement to say otherwise. Therefore, they are the property of the copyright holder (who might be the creator, the publisher, etc). Even if there is no copyright statement on the material you are viewing, do not assume that it is copyright-free.

Printed Material

Single copying i.e. making of a single copy for your own individual private study or research is permissible under ‘fair dealing’.
The following are generally accepted as fair limits to copy:

  • 5% of a total publication (can be more than 1 extract) or
  • one complete chapter of a book
  • one whole article in one issue of a serial / journal
  • one short story or one poem not exceeding 10 pages in length contained in an anthology
  • one whole report of a single law case in a set of published judicial proceedings

Excluded Material

Under the terms of the CLA licence the following categories of material must not be reproduced:

Printed music (including the words)

  • Maps & charts e.g. weather charts
  • Newspapers
  • Workbooks, work cards & assignment sheets (unless it states that it is a copyable resource)
  • Any work where the copyright holder has stated that permission is not granted for copying under the CLA licence.