Copyright Basics

Copyright basics

What is copyright?
Copyright is a set of legal rights given to authors, artists, performers, and so on to protect them and their work.
What does copyright apply to?
Copyright applies to all original work as soon as it is written down, recorded or saved. It isn’t possible to copyright an idea, concept or name – though patents or trademarks can be used to protect these.
How does copyright protect someone’s work?
Copyright gives an author (etc.) exclusive rights to:
  • copy their work
  • publish their work
  • put their work online
  • perform their work in public
  • adapt their work (e.g. translate it)
An author can also give others permission to do these things.
How does copyright protect an author (etc.)?
Copyright provides three “moral rights”:
  • the right to be identified as author (etc.) of a piece of work
  • the right not to be falsely identified as author of a piece of work
  • the right not to have a piece of work used or altered so as to harm an author’s reputation
How long does copyright last?
In most cases, copyright lasts for the life of the author, plus 70 years.
Who owns the copyright in work I do for the University?
In general, academic staff own the copyright in their research, while the University owns the copyright in material produced for teaching or by general staff.