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Protecting your work

It is important to note that while the information in this guide is intended help staff and students ensure that their use of intellectual property is legitimate and every effort is made to ensure that it is accurate, it is NOT, and should not be regarded as, legal advice or opinion.

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Intellectual Property Rights

Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) ensure that people who create new ideas, products and processes can control how their works is used and benefit from that use. IPR give the creator a time limited monopoly right with legal control over what happens to their work.

IPR are "tradeable". They can be bought, sold or licensed either in whole or in part. In a university, this often happens when an author signs a contract to publish an article.  The Copyright in the article is usually assigned to the publisher, so the author’s subsequent use of that article is significantly limited.

The University of Worcester has an Intellectual Property Policy which sets out the position between the University and its employees and students in relation to the ownership of intellectual property.

There are four main forms of Intellectual Property (IP):

  • Designs - the appearance of an item e.g: a logo or a diamond brooch.
  • Copyright - works that are physically recorded e.g: written, photographed or painted.
  • Patents - cover inventions (& how they work) e.g: a chemical formula, or a new mouse trap.
  • Trademarks - cover signs and logos that identify brands or products & services e.g: Microsoft, Dyson or Ford.

 

Copyright in the UK

Copyright ensures that people who create literary and artistic works can control how their works are used and benefit from that use.

In UK law copyright is an automatic right conferred on the creator of any copyrightable work and doesn't require any form of registration. It is not necessary to put the copyright symbol © on the work for it to be protected.

 

What is covered by copyright?

Anything written, printed, spoken or sung and stored in any recording medium. The recording element is important as no copyright exists in an idea, only in expressions of that idea. For example, if someone thinks of a poem, it will have no protection under copyright until it is written down or in some other way recorded.

Literary works: books, journals, computer programs, data, hand written documents, magazines, pamphlets, poetry, lyrics etc.

Dramatic Works: plays, screenplays, dance, mime etc.

Musical Works: performances, sheet music and lyrics etc.

Artistic Works: drawings, paintings, graphic works, photographs, maps, logos, sculptures, collages, architecture, items of artistic craftsmanship etc.

Compilations: the compilation as a whole has a copyright as do the individual items within the compilation.

Databases

Typographical Layout: the physical layout and typefaces used.

Recordings and Broadcasts of works: including sound and film

 

Who owns copyright?

In UK law the first owner of copyright in a work is the 'author' or 'creator' of the work. This can be an individual, or an organisation as in cases where a work is produced in the course of employment where the employer owns the copyright unless an agreement to the contrary exists.

The University of Worcester has an Intellectual Property Policy which sets out the position between the University and its employees and students in relation to the ownership of intellectual property.

As Copyright is a "Tradable Right" the first owner is at liberty to sell, or otherwise assign their copyright, either as a whole or in part, to a third party.  Hence publishers, record labels and other companies that deal in copyrightable material own extensive copyright portfolios that have been assigned to them by authors, editors, artists & photographers etc.

 

What are moral rights?

Moral rights include:

  • the right to be identified as author or director of a work when the work is commercially published or otherwise issued to the public (paternity right)
  • the right to object to derogatory treatment of a work (integrity right)
  • the right to object to false attribution of authorship or directorship
  • the right to privacy of certain photographs and films (privacy right)

Performers also have moral rights which include:

  • the right to be identified as the performer and
  • the right to object to derogatory treatment of their performance.

Moral Rights cannot be sold, traded or transferred but remain associated with the original creator of the work.

 

How long does copyright last for?

Tabs

Sound recordings

Sound Recordings potentially have multiple separate copyrights, including:

  • Copyright in the music which will normally be owned by the composer,
  • Copyright in the words (if any, e.g. a song) which will normally be held by the person who wrote them,
  • Copyright in the recording which will normally be held by the producer of the recording,
  • Copyright in the performance which will usually be held by the performer(s) or the producer (e.g. if assigned as part of a recording contract)

The copyright in the music will exist for 70 years from the end of the year of the composer’s death.

The copyright in the words will exist for 70 years from the end of the year of death of the person who wrote them.

In the case of words and music specifically written to go together the copyright in both will last for 70 years from the end of the year of the death of the last remaining of the two.

The length of protection of both the recording and any performer's rights are dependent on:

  • if and when the recording is published,
  • if and when the recording is played or otherwise communicated to the public
  • if the recording was in copyright on 1st November 2013.

In the case of the recording NOT being published, played or otherwise communicated to the public, the copyright in both the recording and the performance exist for 50 years from the end of the year in which the recording was made.

If the recording is published, played or otherwise communicated to the public during the 50 years from it being made then the 50 year period of protection is reset to:

  • Performer’s rights - 50 years from the end of the year in which the recording was first played or otherwise communicated to the public
  • Copyright in the recording - 50 years from the end of the year in which the recording is published, played or otherwise communicated to the public whichever is the latest.

As of the 1st November 2013 any new recording or any recording still in copyright had this period of protection extended to 70 years from the end of the year in which the recording was published, played or otherwise communicated to the public. The period of protection for recordings that have not been published, played or otherwise communicated to the public was not affected and remains at 50 years.

Copyright for sound recordings with no identifiable creators lasts for 50 years from the date of creation or release.

Film and TV

Films commonly have several separate copyrights and as a result the copyright in a film lasts for 70 years from the end of the year in which the last survivor of the following dies:

  • Principal director;
  • Author(s) of the screenplay and dialogue
  • Composer of any music specially created for the film.

Ordnance Survey Mapping

The copyright in Ordnance Survey maps (available on [Digimap]) lasts for 50 years from the end of the year in which the map was published.

 

Typographical arrangements

Copyright in the typographical arrangement of a work lasts 25 years from the end of the year of publication

Crown Copyright

Crown copyright lasts:

  • 125 years from the end of the year in which the work was made if unpublished commercially

or

  • 50 years from the end of the year of publication, if the work is published commercially within the first 75 years after being made

or

  • In the case of copyright assigned to the Crown - 70 years from the end of the year of the creator's death

Parliamentary Copyright

Copyright for literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works lasts 50 years from the end of the year the work was made.

For Acts of Parliament, Bills ('public’, 'private' or 'personal') and Measures of the General Synod of the Church of England, copyright lasts 50 years from the end of the year in which Royal Accent was given.

The following categories of material qualify for Parliamentary copyright protection:

  • Lords and Commons official reports (Hansard)
  • Bills of Parliament
  • House business papers, including Journals of both Houses
  • Lords Minutes of Proceedings
  • Daily business papers (vote bundle)
  • Commons Order Books
  • Commons Public Bill lists and Statutory Instruments lists
  • Weekly Information Bulletin
  • Sessional Information Digest

 

This material can be used under the terms of the Open Parliament License which allows you, subject to certain terms and conditions, to:

  • copy, publish, distribute and transmit the information
  • adapt the information
  • exploit the information commercially, for example, by combining it with other information, or by including it in your own product or application

 

The Open Parliament License does not cover:

  • The crowned portcullis
  • Images featured on art in parliament
  • Parliamentary archives
  • Parliamentary photographic images
  • Live and archive video or audio broadcasts
  • Further exemptions are included in the license itself.
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