Did you know that whenever you write a poem or story or even a paper for your class, or a drawing or other artwork, you automatically own the copyright to it. Copyright is a form of protection given to the authors or creators of “original works of authorship,” including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic and other intellectual works. What that means is that, as the author of the work, you alone have the right to do any of the following or to let others do any of the following:
In general, it is illegal for anyone to do any of the things listed above with a work created by you without your permission, but there are some exceptions and limitations to your rights. One major limitation is the doctrine of “Fair Use.”
Copyright law grants to copyright holders certain exclusive rights in relation to their works. They have the right to: copy a work, issue copies to the public, perform show or play it, make adaptations or translations. They also have the right to prevent:
Copyright holder(s) may grant permission or license anyone else to do these things, without affecting their ownership of the actual copyright in their work, e.g. an author may permit a television adaptation of their book to be made and broadcast - the copyright in the original book remains with the author and they may grant other such rights to other people.
The law provides certain ways in which copyright works may be used without the need to first obtain permission from the copyright holder(s) - these include, fair dealing, library privilege, copying for examinations and copying for instruction. The University also holds a number of licences, e.g. CLA, NLA, ERA, which permit copyright works to be copied and used in various ways. Otherwise, written permission must first be obtained from a copyright holder before their work is used or copied. Infringing the rights of copyright holders may be a criminal offence and/or cause them to sue for damages.
As a result of certain international treaties and conventions, works produced in other countries have the same copyright protection in the UK as those created here.
Moral rights are a series of rights which protect an author’s / creator’s / film director’s personality as expressed in his or her work. They apply to literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works and also to films. Unlike copyright, they cannot be sold or assigned, though they may be waived. On the death of the author / creator / director, moral rights in a work pass to his or her estate and may be enforced by it.
The rights are as follows.
Literary, dramatic, musical or artistic works
Unlimited manual copies of literary, dramatic, musical or artistic works may be made for the purposes of instruction. This means, for example, that a diagram may be re-drawn on a whiteboard and hand copied by students. This exception does not cover any sort of reprographic copying, e.g. photocopying, although this may be possible under licenses held by the University.
Any work, save printed music for performance, may be copied for the purposes of setting and answering questions for an examination or equivalent assessed work. An appropriate acknowledgement of the material copied must be included unless this is impractical, e.g. the student is required to identify the source of the material.
Literary, dramatic and musical works may be performed and sound recordings, films and broadcasts may be played or shown to staff and students on University premises for educational purposes only. This exception would not extend to a performance open to members of the public, even if they were simply the parents of students.
Recordings of broadcasts not covered by the ERA (Educational Recording Agency) License, or the OU (Open University) Broadcast Licence, may be made for non-commercial educational purposes and shown to staff and students on University premises only.
Sound and video recordings and broadcasts may be copied for the making of a film or film sound-track by students and/or academic staff involved in the course of instruction, or of preparation for instruction, in the making of films or film sound-tracks. Note, this copying may only be done by the tutor(s) or the student(s) involved in the course.
A copyright owner has five rights to his or her copyrighted work:
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