Internal, open access

FAQs - Copyright

Here are some commonly asked questions about copyright:

Audiovisual Material

May I show clips from on demand services such as BBC iPlayer and 4oD in lectures and seminars?

May I show films and television programmes in lectures and seminars?

May I use content from YouTube on Blackboard or in lectures?

May I upload a programme to Blackboard that I've paid to download from iTunes or similar?

May I upload a film that I've bought on DVD to Blackboard?

May I upload a television programme to YouTube?

May I put a short film from one of the Library's electronic databases into Blackboard?

May I record a film or television programme from a television broadcast for use in class?

Images

May I use any image from the Internet in my presentation or on my web pages?

Where can I find material online that is free to reuse?

There's a book in the Library with some images in it that I want to photocopy or scan into Blackboard and my presentation for teaching - can I do this?

Who owns the copyright in a photograph of a copyrighted painting?

When you see the phrase: "All rights reserved" - does this mean I can use it?

May I use copyrighted images in my essay / report / dissertation / thesis?

Do I need permission to use images in a short film?

Permission & Consent

Using photographic images of people: When do I need consent?

When someone allows me to use their material, should I keep their permission / consent forms?

I emailed an artist and asked for their permission to use an image from their website. They have not responded. Does this mean I can use it anyway?

Ownership of Copyright

Do students own the copyright in their original work?

Do staff own the copyright in the work they do?

 

May I show clips from on demand services such as BBC iPlayer and 4oD in lectures and seminars?

Yes, provided the clips are for educational rather than entertainment purposes.

May I show films and television programmes in lectures and seminars?

Yes, as long as they are being shown for educational purposes only (i.e. not entertainment) to an audience of teaching staff and students, on campus. This is permitted under s.34 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

May I use content from YouTube on Blackboard or in lectures?

Yes, you may share YouTube videos by either providing the hyperlink or correctly embedding the code given by YouTube. If you suspect any content to have been uploaded to YouTube illegally, avoid using it and consider finding the clip within Box of Broadcasts instead.

May I upload a programme to Blackboard that I've paid to download from iTunes or similar?

No, you must not upload commercial television programmes or films to Blackboard that you have paid to download unless you have specific permission from the copyright owner to do so. This type of permission will usually be costly and extremely difficult to obtain.

May I upload a film that I've bought on DVD to Blackboard?

No. You must have permission from the copyright holder. The University does not currently hold a licence which would enable us to upload films which have been broadcast on television in the UK to Blackboard. If you would like to register your interest in whether you think the University should upgrade to this licence, please email the Copyright Officer.

May I upload a television programme to YouTube?

No - this would be copyright infringement unless you have cleared all the rights in the programme first and gained permission from the broadcaster.

May I put a short film from one of the Library's electronic databases into Blackboard?

You should always link to the resource if possible, in preference to copying - even if the database licence terms permit this. If you need more details, contact your liaison librarian.

May I record a film or television programme from a television broadcast for use in class?

The ERA licence allows staff to record programmes and broadcasts from set channels for educational purposes. Open University programmes are covered under a separate licence.

May I use any image from the Internet in my presentation or on my web pages?

No - it might once have been a common misconception that all uploaded images shared publicly on the Internet were free to use, but they are not. In the first instance, you should look for images that have been made available under a Creative Commons licence (permitting free reuse subject to some simple restrictions), or search the University's ImageBank.

If you intend to reuse a copyright-protected image in a presentation to support a specific teaching point, then your use might be covered by a copyright exception permitting fair dealing for the purposes of 'illustration for instruction'. You will be required to provide sufficient accompanying acknowledgement of the author, work and source. Note that this exception only applies in the context of non-commercial teaching activity; it will not apply if the image is reused for other purposes or in a different context (such as illustrating a web page on the same topic).

If you intend to reuse a copyright-protected image online, you must generally obtain bespoke permission if reuse has not otherwise been authorised by the copyright owner (e.g. via a Creative Commons licence). It is advisable be particularly careful with images created proficiently or professionally (especially in the case of photographs). You must also remember to credit the creator of the image appropriately.

Where can I find material online that is free to reuse?

A number of websites provide images, sound recordings or videos that are free to reuse, whether subject to licence conditions (such as a requirement for attribution) or dedicated to the public domain (i.e. free from all known copyright restrictions). However, you must always check the terms and conditions of the website and/or item before reusing anything you find online. To find material that has been made available under a Creative Commons licence, visit the Creative Commons search portal. Note that appropriate attribution is always required.

Sites offering free images without an attribution requirement (although still under licence) include Gratisography, Pexels, and Unsplash. To find images that are “copyright-free” because they have been dedicated to the public domain, visit Pixabay. Remember, it is always necessary to acknowledge your sources in a scholarly context.

There's a book in the Library with some images in it that I want to photocopy or scan into Blackboard and my presentation for teaching - can I do this?

Photocopying: Yes, as long as the book does not have a notice in the front which says that they haven't granted a licence to the CLA for the use of this work, you may photocopy and make multiple copies of up to 10% or one chapter of the book for educational, non-commercial purposes.

Scanning: A lot of additional restrictions apply to scanning of works, so you must consult the Library who offer a free scanning service and will be able to clear the use for you. You may however scan individual images for use in your teaching presentation as long as the purpose is for criticism and review.

Who owns the copyright in a photograph of a copyrighted painting?

A photographer who exercises sufficient creative control always owns the copyright of a photograph they have taken. However, when taking pictures of copyright-protected works that are not permanently situated on public display, you will need permission from the copyright owner of those items. In this situation, you would need the permission of the copyright owner to photograph the painting and to use your resultant photograph, because otherwise your activity would infringe the copyright in the painting.

When you see the phrase: "All rights reserved" - does this mean I can use it?

No! This means that the copyright owner does not want you to do anything with their image without their express permission. (However, note that owners cannot restrict activities permitted under some copyright exceptions – but could still threaten legal action to challenge any given use.)

May I use copyrighted images in my essay / report / dissertation / thesis?

Yes - you don't need permission from the copyright holder to use images or any other copyrighted content in any piece of work you do for the purposes of examination. Please note however that if your thesis will be made available on the Web, you will need to seek permission to use copyright materials that you have included in your work unless your use is also fair dealing for the purposes of criticism, review or quotation. The copyright exception relating to examination only applies to use in the course of assessment and not to subsequent re-use.

Do I need permission to use images in a short film?

If the images are not licensed for re-use then you will need to get permission from the copyright owner / photographer before using them in the film. The exceptions to this rule are if the film is being made for the purposes of examination or assessment, or the inclusion constitutes fair dealing for the purposes of criticism or review (reproducing an entire image is unlikely to be defensible as quotation).

Using photographic images of people: when do I need consent?

Signed written consent is required from individuals who are the subject of a photograph if you want to use the images commercially. This includes the public-facing webpages of the University website, the University prospectus, any marketing or advertising materials, and any content you use the image in which you then sell (for example, a book). The University provides Release Forms to be signed by individuals appearing in images or footage that will be used on the website or for marketing purposes.   

You do not need written consent from each individual in the photograph if you take pictures of groups, take pictures of people at public events, take pictures of crowd scenes, or take pictures of people for editorial purposes such as news reporting. You also do not require written consent if you intend to use or publish images for purely personal or non-commercial purposes (for example, you may upload images to Flickr but not licence them to a commercial organisation). It is courteous to get verbal consent if you are taking pictures of just one or two people.

When someone allows me to use their material, should I keep their permission / consent forms?

Yes. Staff who collect consent from individuals for University projects (e.g. prospectus photo shoots, audiovisual projects for Mediasite or iTunes U) should send completed consent forms (these are available to download in the 'Things to Do Now' section) to the Copyright & Compliance Officer. All other copyright permissions must be retained by you for as long as the item exists.

I emailed an artist and asked for their permission to use an image from their website. They have not responded. Does this mean I can use it anyway?

No! No response does not automatically give you the right to use an item. Try sending a follow-up email, make a telephone call (if possible), and if everything fails try to find an alternative. In certain contexts, your intended usage might constitute fair dealing for the purposes of criticism or review, or illustration for instruction. However, if you have decided that it is necessary to seek permission rather than rely on a copyright exception, you should never mistake unresponsiveness for consent.

Do students own the copyright in their original work?

Yes, always. There are circumstances where the University will require a student to assign their intellectual property in writing to the University before, during or after the course of studies. These can include situations such as the specific terms of an industry sponsorship / project contract, a student working in collaboration with University staff where the intellectual property generated by the student is needed to enable the use of the entire technology, or where a student is keen to work with the University to exploit their intellectual property and the University agrees to do so. See the University's Code of Practice on Intellectual Property for further information.

Do staff own the copyright in the work they do?

No - under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, employers automatically own the intellectual property created by their employees in the normal course of their employment. However, the University of Reading takes a pragmatic approach to material created by academic staff and does not assert ownership of copyright in scholarly works created in furtherance of an academic career. The University's Code of Practice on Intellectual Property sets out exactly what the University does and does not claim ownership of with regards to copyright - please read this or contact Academic and Legal Services for further details.

Things to do now

Contact the Copyright & Compliance Officer

Download the Permissions request template

Download the

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