Copyright workshop at the National Science Learning Centre, York

NSLC kindly offered the library a couple of free places on this workshop, which was run by a dynamic pair from the Open University: Bernadette Atwell and Alma Hales. At the OU they use the CLA very little, and instead buy/clear all rights themselves or through partnerships, which was reflected in the material provided in this informative day course.

A broad list of what is protected by copyright was presented:

  • original literary works (inc. prose, poetry, tables, compilations, songs, computer programmes, databases)
  • original musical works (musical notation)
  • original dramatic works (plays, scripts, screenplays, mime, choreography)
  • original artistic works (painting, drawing, sculpture, jewellery, graphics, architectural designs, buildings, maps, charts, carvings, photographs)

Restricted acts and permitted acts were outlined.


  • copying
  • issuing copies to the public
  • performing, showing or playing to the public
  • broadcasting
  • adapting (includes translations)
  • storing in any electronic medium
  • altering/removing rights management data (they advise never to do this: it’s infringement)
  • overriding security systems
  • rental and lending
  • importing infringing copies
  • dealing in infringing copies
  • providing means for making infringing copies
  • provision of premises or apparatus for infringing performances
  • authorising infringement (even by failing to put up a copyright notice, for example)


  • insubstantial use (they claim that not enough use is made of this when using material which isn’t instantly recognisable)
  • non-commercial research or private study
  • fair dealing for the purposes if criticism or review
  • fair dealing for the purposes of reporting current events
  • bona fide examinations
  • instruction in film-making and sound recording
  • licensed recording of broadcasts by educational establishments (ERA licence)
  • photocopying under CLA licence
  • video recording at home for ‘time-shifting’ purposes
  • decompilation (can decompile software to check its operability but not to copy code) with caution
  • re-drawing (must be substantially different) with caution

Types of moral right:

  • paternity right – the right to be named as author
  • integrity right – the right to object to derogatory treatment

Databases (definition, protection, ownership):

  • a database is a collection of independent works, data or other material which are arranged in a systematic or methodical way, and which are individually accessible by electronic or other means.
  • for copyright protection, a database must be original, i.e be the author’s own intellectual creation
  • if it does qualify, the scope of protection and ownership is the same as for any other literary work.
  • if it does not qualify, but fulfils the definition of a database, it receives the database right.

The database right:

  • the right to object to abstraction
  • only licensed users may access
  • no fair dealing
  • duration: 15 years from 31 Dec of year when database was completed. This is renewable if a ‘substantial’ change has been made
  • copyright and database right can be concurrent
  • the maker of the database is the first owner of the database right


Important to think in layers with copyright, as it prevents one from jumping to conclusions. E.g ‘copyrightable’ music layers:

  • recording
  • lyrics
  • music
  • performer

… some of which may be out of copyright, about which there has been a lot of debate. The Gowers report into copyright has prompted lobbying by Paul McCartney and Cliff Richard, who say that the performance ‘layer’ should be longer that 50 years. Cliff Richard, for example, performs but doesn’t write his songs, so his material could soon be out opf copyright.

Risk levels in copyright

  • need to apply some risk, and then decide to go with it if the risk of not going ahead is greater thab the risk of going ahead. Then have an agreed takedown policy.
  • never talk on the ‘phone about such issues, for example if you receive a call about potential copyright infrigement. Take the information and get back to the enquirer.
  • if possible, have a pot of money avaialable for paying anyone who gets in touch who you couldn’t fond originally, in case they contact you.
  • make sure that you can demonstrate that you’ve tried to obtain copyright permission
  • log any instances of failing to find the ownder with the note ‘await claim’, which shows that the search was performed and that you are prepared to pay.
  • keep all research when trying to find copyright holders

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: