This guide provides an overview of the main copyright and Intellectual property issues for those involved in teaching at the University of Westminster.
Please note that, while University Library staff are happy to advise on copyright issues and to assist in obtaining copyright-cleared items through our digitisation and Inter-library loan services, it is the responsibility of individual academic staff and students to ensure that their use of any materials for learning and teaching complies with UK copyright law and the terms of our licences.
Copyright is legislation that automatically protects creative work from use without permission.
In the UK, the relevant copyright legislation is the 1988 Copyright, Designs and Patents Act. While you do not need to be familiar with the legislation in detail, this guide provides you with a guide to copyright terminology and law that might impact on you.
Ideas are not protected until formed into a work - copyright arises in a work as soon as it is created.
Types of work protected are:
Copyright prevents work from being:
Several exceptions exist to allow copyright work to be used for education purposes.
When using work under certain exceptions the amount used must be ‘fair dealing’, such as for:
Fair dealing is a legal term that refers to whether use is fair or infringes copyright.
This means that the amount used must be
Use must not affect market opportunities or cause the creator to lose out financially.
*It is generally accepted that 5% is a reasonable amount.
For images it is suggested that a low resolution of the image is used.
As an employee of the University of Westminster the first owner of intellectual property generated in the course of employment is the University.
The ownership of content produced in the course of your research, including data and published outputs is set out in the University of Westminster Intellectual Property Policy which you are advised to consult.
In the case of externally-funded research or consultancy contract, the University is the first owner of the content, although they can assign ownership of the material to the project sponsor if the contract so requires.
The policy applies to all types of staff including technical and administrative staff and part-time lecturers.
There are some exceptions to this rule including the outcomes of scholarly activity. The term “scholarly activity” means activity that is generally self-managed and may include the production of books, articles, conference papers, computer software, creative work in all media, professional updating and practice and personal academic development.
It excludes work and results essential for the discharge of research and consultancy projects financed from external sources. It also excludes any material for distribution to students.
If you use social media or social networking sites, then pay attention to any terms and conditions of use. You should check the type of licence you might be granting to the site relating to the re-use of your data such as your own personal information and any content that you upload to the site such as images and photographs.
You should also be mindful when sharing content on social media; for example if you include photographs or images then it is possible that others may decide to reuse them without your permission. If content is particularly sensitive or valuable then be careful before deciding to share it on social media.
If you wish to re-use images belonging to others but shared on sites such as Twitter or Facebook, then remember these are protected by copyright and you are advised to obtain permission if you wish to re-publish them.
If you are responsible for University-branded social media accounts, you should refer to the University's Social Media Policy and guidance.
UK copyright laws apply when uploading or downloading videos in YouTube in the UK.
By embedding YouTube videos on your site, you are agreeing to YouTube terms of service. The users are responsible for complying with copyright.
Further information available from YouTube terms of service
Disclaimer: The guide in no way substitutes for formal legal advice. If you are in any doubt or require further information we recommend you consult the sources of further advice at the end of this guide.