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Guidelines for External Speakers

The University of Reading is committed to respecting the Intellectual Property rights of third parties and seeks to protect itself and its guest speakers from the risk of liability. Please read these guidelines if you are intending to give a public lecture at the University which will be streamed or recorded and uploaded to the Web.

Don't Run the Risk!

It is highly likely that you will use images, text, video and/or music to illustrate your talk. Copyright is likely to protect much of this material and unless a copyright exception applies, it is necessary to obtain permission from the copyright owner. This can be provided in the form of:

  • Express written permission from the copyright holder (e.g. an email/letter authorising your reuse)
  • Licence to use or re-use (e.g. a Creative Commons licence, if your use is authorised by the licence terms)

When obtaining permission to use other people's work such as images, please make sure that you seek their permission for Web use as well. See our permission guidance notes for more information about seeking permission. Once permission is received, file the permission letter or email safely and retain it indefinitely for future reference.

It is advisable to seek copyright clearance as soon as possible, as it can take some time for copyright owners to reply. You should not use the work unless you have received an affirmative response.

Although is always important to give appropriate attribution when reusing others’ material, copyright infringement is not the same as plagiarism. Crediting the copyright holder is not enough if you have not sought their permission to use their work in this way, and you could be liable for copyright infringement unless a copyright exception applies.


UK copyright exceptions permit limited reuse in some specific instances, subject to a test of 'fair dealing'. Generally, you will not need to seek permission if you...

  • Are critiquing or reviewing the work
  • Use short quotations of other people's work

In these situations, you must still ensure that you credit all material appropriately.

The extent to which a fair dealing copyright exception will apply is context-specific and depends on the facts of the case. However, the use cannot be excessive or considered to conflict unduly with the interests of the copyright owner (e.g. by replacing a sale of a work). Reliance on fair dealing exceptions almost always requires accompanying acknowledgement of the creator and source.

Public Domain

Some material is not protected by copyright, either because copyright has expired or because no copyright subsisted to begin with. For example, copyright does not protect facts or ideas (although may protect original expressions of these things).

Copyright protection lasts for a long time – usually, the lifetime of the author plus 70 years, although this can vary (& is sometimes much longer) – and the durations can be different in different countries. Material that is not protected by copyright is referred to as being in the 'public domain'.

Hence, this term refers specifically to works that are not protected by copyright – not works that are merely publicly accessible or a matter of public record. In a copyright sense, being 'available to the public' is certainly not synonymous with the ‘public domain’.

For further clarification on any of the above, please feel free to contact the Copyright & Compliance Officer who will be happy to assist you.