Copyright is part of a wider set of intellectual property (IP) rights that offer protection and certain exclusive rights to the owner(s) of the rights in a work. Other IP rights include:
- Patents - for inventions
- Trade Marks – for brand identity
- Designs – for product appearance
- Copyright - for material (see below)
In the UK the Copyright, Design and Patents Act 1988 (as amended) defines copyright as:
"…a property right which subsists in accordance with this Part in the following descriptions of work -
(a) original literary, dramatic, musical or artistic works,
(b) sound recordings, films, or broadcasts, and
(c) the typographical arrangement of published editions."
Examples of literary, dramatic, musical or artistic works include books, plays, songs and photographs.
There are three tests that can be applied to any work to determine if it is subject to copyright. These include:
- It must be original
- It must be fixed (important in electronic environment) (i.e. exist in a material form - whether that is on paper, electronically or otherwise)
- The author of the work must be a qualified national (broadly either from a country that recognises copyright law or resident in such a country) or where the work has been published, the country of first publication must qualify (broadly that it recognises copyright law).
All students and staff need to be aware of copyright issues if they intend to:
- photocopy, scan or digitise material
- quote/extract from someone else's work in essays, projects and theses
- put together photocopied chapters and articles to give to students
- use audio or video material in teaching, presentations or course work
- save or print material from electronic resources
The legal position is set out in the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 and subsequent Statutory Instruments.