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Copyright is "the exclusive and assignable legal right, given to the originator for a fixed number of years, to print, publish, perform, film, or record literary, artistic, or musical material".

It does not protect ideas, thoughts or facts.

Copyright in the UK is governed by the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, and subsequent amendments of this Act.

Copyright is automatic and a work does not have to be published to be protected.

Help with copyright

If you need guidance on copyright, please email copyright@leedstrinity.ac.uk.

We will do our best to advise you on areas such as:

  • what you can and can't do under the CLA and NLA Licences
  • scanning documents
  • using third-party copyright in research papers and theses
  • your rights as an author
  • licencing your research output to maximise its exposure to readers
  • sources of copyright-free and copyright-friendly static and moving images and audio

How much can I photocopy?

The proportion of a work that can be copied consists of whichever is the greater of 10% of the total or:

  • one chapter of a book
  • one article of a journal issue
  • one paper of one set of conference proceedings
  • one report of a single case from a law report
  • one scene from a play
  • one short story, or one poem, or one play of not more than 10 pages in an anthology of short stories, poems or plays

Photographs, illustrations, charts and diagrams can be copied where they are included in an article or book chapter.

For more detailed guidance see the individual copyright guides.

Who owns copyright?

Generally, the author or creator of a work is the copyright owner.

An exception to this is that copyright of works created during the course of employment will be owned by the employer unless an agreement to the contrary is in place. This applies to academic staff at universities but students own the copyright of work they create unless a valid agreement to the contrary exists.

The copyright owner may grant permission for the use of copyright material under certain conditions. This is generally done by means of licenses, of which Leeds Trinity University pays for a number.

Duration of copyright

Type of workDuration
Literary works (books, journal articles, poems, software, letters etc.)

Expires 70 years after the author’s death

Note, unpublished works where the author died before 1969 and the works were unpublished before 1 August 1989 are copyright until the end of 2039

Dramatic works (plays, dance, mime) Expires 70 years after the author's death
Musical works Expires 70 years after the author's death
Artistic works (paintings, drawings, diagrams, maps, engravings, sculptures, collages, photographs etc.) Expires 70 years after the author's death
Sound recordings Expires 70 years from the end of the year in which it was made
Film Expires 70 years after the death of the last living of the principal director, screenplay author and composer
Broadcasts Expires 50 years after the first broadcast
Typographical arrangement of published editions Expires 25 years after first publication

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