By ucyldao, on 13 September 2023
The Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA) licence for photocopying, scanning and digital re-use is a bit of a mouthful. It is also one of the main means to stay within the law when re-using copyright-protected materials, particularly in teaching.
A CLA poster is displayed next to MFDs at every UCL library site and in departments. This is expected by the CLA and helps you know what you are allowed to do under the terms of the licence. Below are six main points about the licence.
- The CLA is a not-for-profit company that distributes its revenue to authors, publishers and visual artists via royalty-collecting organisations.
- Like many other Universities, UCL pays an annual subscription to the CLA. The library also takes part in consultations that inform negotiations with the agency, to ensure that the licence meets the needs of the academic community.
- Works covered by the licence mainly include books and journal publications published in the UK. Many overseas publications are also included. Not everything is covered: which countries and publications are covered and what is allowed in every case varie; particularly when it comes to scanning. For a work to be covered, UCL must own a copy or subscribe to the publication.
- There are limits to how much can be copied. Currently these are: up to one chapter from a book, one whole article from a journal issue or 10% of the book or journal issue; whichever is the greatest. The CLA guidance on the poster specifies limits for other types of materials.
- Any member of staff or student at UCL can copy under the terms of the licence. However, for copies made for students on a particular course, there are additional storage and reporting requirements: designated members of staff do the scanning and ensure the requirements are met. If you want to use a resource in your course readings, you are advised to add it to your reading list, specifying which extracts you wish to digitise. The TLS team checks what is permitted and, where possible, digitises the resource under the terms of the licence. More information can be found on the Course Readings webpage.
- You have other options, too.
There is a growing number of resources that do not require digitisation. A wide range of electronic resources is available to UCL staff and students, including journal articles and e-books – lecturers can provide links to their students. You can also benefit from exceptions in copyright law, which allow you to copy and share reasonable extracts from materials, without the need for permission, as long as the use is ‘fair dealing‘.
And, of course, there is the ever-growing body of open access resources, including those held in UCL Discovery or published by UCL Press. If a resource is licensed under a Creative Commons licence it can be used without permission, as long as the terms of the licence are met.
Copyright updates, July 2023: tackling copyright anxiety, “giving voice to authors”, and new UCL copyright resources
By ucyldao, on 28 July 2023
Copyright anxiety study seeks to help address ‘copyright chill’
The recently launched Copyright Anxiety Study is a collaboration between the Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford, City, University of London and the University of Alberta.
The study seeks to gauge copyright anxiety levels among higher education staff in the UK and Canada, with a view to recommend solutions to alleviate this anxiety.
This is an important study, with the potential to help professionals in various higher education roles (library, teaching and research) deal with copyright more confidently.
“Copyright anxiety is not without important consequences. Because many people are unsure what is and what isn’t legal online under copyright, they self-censor, and choose not to post or create things for fear it might land them in serious legal trouble. Ironically, increasingly strong copyright is casting a “chill” that discourages, rather than encourages, creativity. Given the billions of people who are now online, the scale of that creative loss is likely to be massive”. Glyn Moody, Walled Culture website
The survey is open until 18 August 2023. Please complete the survey and share further with colleagues if possible.
New project by Authors Alliance and KnowledgeRights21 empowers authors who write for the public benefit.
Authors Alliance and KnowledgeRights21 have launched a new project, ‘Giving Voice to Authors‘, to support European authors (primarily academics but also journalists and authors of fiction and non-fiction), who want their works to be widely accessible and discoverable.
Authors Alliance has members from all over the world. Its main objective is to promote the rights of authors who support open and equitable access to knowledge and ensure they have a voice in current policy debates. Knowledge Rights 21 (KR21) is a 3-year programme that advocates long-term copyright reform for the benefit of library users and researchers.
Authors Alliance welcomes any authors who want to add their voices to these debates. You can join for free at www.authorsalliance.org/join.
AA website: https://www.authorsalliance.org/2023/07/20/authors-alliance-in-europe-giving-voice-to-authors/
KR21 website: https://www.knowledgerights21.org/news-story/knowledgerights21-to-work-with-authors-alliance-to-raise-the-voice-of-authors-who-care-about-the-public-interest/
New UCL copyright resources: microCPD video and new website guidance on copyright to research data, code and publications
The LCCOS copyright team has developed a micro-CPD encouraging lecturers to embed copyright knowledge in their teaching.
Increasing students’ understanding of copyright gives them research and information skills that will help them beyond University, supports their creativity and helps teaching staff protect the integrity of their own materials.
The 90-sec video is part of the UCL Arena series, aiming to promote best practice for teaching staff in a concise format.
Please also see our two new pages on
Copyright and your research publications, including information on ownership, publishing agreements and your rights as authors
Copyright for research data and software, including guidance on ownership and licensing.
If you have any questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
By ucyldao, on 24 February 2023
Our previous post opened Fair Dealing Week (20-24 February 2023) with a general overview of what ‘fair’ means in the context of ‘fair dealing’. We close the week with a post on three copyright exceptions in the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (CDPA) that are most relevant to studying, teaching and research. You can rely on these exceptions to copy and use materials without permission, as long as your use is ‘fair’.
Three key copyright exceptions
Image credits: 1. Image by tulyawat01 on Freepik 2. Image by rawpixel.com on Freepik; 3. Copyright UCL Creative Media Services
Research and private study. You may be able to copy (e.g. photocopy, download, scan) limited extracts from books, journal issues and other documents; or images related to your study; for non-commercial purposes (section 29, CDPA).
Quotation. You may include in your work extracts from books, journal articles and other works already made available to the public, if the purpose and the context justify it. You should only use as much as you need for your purpose (section 30, CDPA). Including whole works may be justified, but some caution is advised when including images.
Illustration for instruction. You may rely on this exception to include text, images, film and music in your lectures (e.g. slides, recordings), in exam papers and, if you are a student, in coursework, theses submitted for examination and class presentations. The use must be non-commercial (section 32, CDPA).
How do you apply ‘fair dealing’ to these exceptions?
We discussed ‘fair dealing’ in our previous post. If you decide to on an exception, the following acronym may help you remember what to consider:
Credit where credit is due
Damaging the (commercial and other) interests of copyright holder? Don’t use!
As ‘fair dealing’ is a matter of intepretation and risk assessment, you may also want to contact the UCL copyright team for advice, or refer to our resources.
UCL copyright resources
By ucyldao, on 19 February 2023
Fair Dealing Week (20-24 February 2023) is an annual opportunity to discuss and promote how copyright exceptions can be applied, in a thoughtful and fair-minded way, to use materials without permission from the copyright holder. This is the second Fair Dealing Week marked in the UK, having originated as ‘Fair Use’ week in the US and expanded to countries with similar doctrines last year. You may be interested in some events happening this week.
But what are these copyright exceptions, and what is ‘fair dealing’?
In the UK, you may be able to use materials without permission, for specific purposes. These ‘permitted uses’ are defined in UK copyright law and include research, private study and education. We will be discussing these in more detail in part 2.
The general principle is that you may be able to use others’ materials in an academic or research context; for example, in an essay, dissertation, lecture, or examination, without permission, as long as the use is ‘fair dealing’. Importantly, ‘fair dealing ‘ itself does not have a statutory definition, and this is where you would need to apply your own judgement. As stated in the UK government’s guidance:
“The question to ask is:
how would a fair-minded and honest person deal with the work?”
If this sounds too vague, there are, in fact, certain criteria that have been identified by the courts. You would need to think, not just about what you think is fair and reasonable, but also what would be likely to be accepted as ‘fair dealing’ in court. In general, there are three important points to think about:
- Use only the amount that is fair and reasonable in the circumstances. One typical example is reproducing too long a quote, when you may need a smaller extract of a work to discuss a point or illustrate an example in class.
- Would your use have an impact on the commercial – and other – interests of the copyright holder? For example, copying and sharing a whole textbook would certainly affect the market.
- Fully acknowledge the source. This is essential but, of course, not adequate on its own to justify copying a work.
In the next post, we will discuss how fair dealing can be applied in specific copyright exceptions. In the meantime, it might also be helpful to think of fair-mindedness and honesty in a broader sense. Start the week by taking our quick poll. This is for fun only; we don’t ask for personal information and we will not be using your responses.
By ucyldao, on 1 February 2023
In this blog we often highlight the importance of respecting others’ legal and moral rights when using copyrighted materials.
We tend to speak less often about copyright infringement affecting you as an author. Yet this is clearly as important. It is increasingly the case, for example, that students make teaching resources – including lecture slides, handouts and test questions but also, in some cases, unpublished articles, research data and code – publicly available online. This is done without the lecturer’s permission.
In an online environment, students may have a genuine desire to share resources with others. Many are also encouraged to be upload their lecture notes (although they also include their lecturers’ materials) on online platforms, in exchange for access to other resources or even for payment. As a result, materials meant to support students on a specific course but not to be shared without further quality control are made available, risking the lecturer’s or University’s reputation and even compromising publication and commercialisation opportunities.
If you find your teaching materials have already been shared, or if you are concerned that they might appear online without your consent, here are some things you can do:
- Know your rights. The default position at UCL is that copyright to your teaching materials belongs to you. Be aware of this fact and if necessary assert your rights, letting others know that sharing is not allowed without your permission.
- Mark your work as copyright. Although this is not necessary for copyright to be protected, it is helpful for you and for others to know who the copyright owner is and that the work should not be copied or shared unless explicitly permitted (i.e. for the purposes of the course).
- Take down materials. The first point of call should be the student; explain to them that the material was unlawfully uploaded and kindly ask them to have it removed. If this is not possible, most platforms have take down request forms they require you to use. The UCL copyright team can also provide wording if necessary.
- Educate your students. It is most likely lack of awareness that makes others infringe copyright. The copyright team is preparing communications to increase the understanding of copyright issues. You can contribute to this effort: you may want to explain to them the consequences of sharing materials unlawfully and where possible, make this awareness part of your teaching. You can also encourage them to complete the online Copyright Essentials module, a short introductory resource.
5. Make your materials open – in your own terms. In some cases where you feel your materials can be shared more widely, you may find it appropriate to license them so that others can reuse them, while you retain copyright, get attributed, and specify the terms of reuse. Creative Commons Licences are the best way to do this. You can specify, for example, whether others can adapt the materials – a great benefit of open educational resources – and whether or not they can be reused commercially.
For more information and support on copyright, we run sessions on copyright for research, teaching, publishing contracts and Creative Commons licences. See our current programme or contact us to arrange a bespoke session.
By ucyldao, on 21 December 2022
New copyright module launched
The UCL copyright support team is proud to launch Copyright Essentials: a new online module introducing key copyright concepts and encouraging learners to approach copyright questions in a critical way. The module is suitable for anyone interested in copyright, including undergraduate and postgraduate students.
Here are a few reasons to complete the module and to recommend it to others:
- You will learn through quizzes, fun facts, scenarios and short videos. If you like Star Wars, you may have even more fun.
- You will learn at your own pace. The module should take around 20 minutes to complete in one go, but you can revisit it any time and pick up where you left off.
- At the end you can get a certificate of completion, to display your new copyright knowledge.
- Throughout the course, you will be encouraged to approach copyright-related decisions in a critical way. In fact, you will need to reflect on the course itself, and decide whether the authors are copyright criminals.
- Finally, you will be encouraged to apply your new knowledge in your work; and hopefully you will feel more confident when using others’ materials and creating your own.
And here are a few more reasons to be proud of this module:
The module promotes the use of open resources and licences. Understanding how open licences work helps overcome most copyright restrictions, while still respecting authors’ rights.
The module itself is an open educational resource. It is available to anyone with an Internet connection; and shared under a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike licence. Please feel free to distribute it, adapt it and reuse it in any way specified by the licence, as long as you attribute the original.
In fact, we encourage adaptations. We would like to see the module adopted and improved to support copyright literacy further. The first version of this module was authored by Nicola Avery and Christine Daoutis in 2019 at the University of Surrey, and included materials co-created with undergraduate students. While the current version does not include these materials for data protection reasons, we are keen to see others, including students, make adaptations to the course.
Finally, in the words of the great Obi-Wan Kenobi, “Many of the truths that we cling to depend on our viewpoint”. We hope that the module conveys the idea that thinking around copyright involves being comfortable with ambiguity and risk, rather than absolute answers. Our approach was informed and inspired by the work of Jane Secker and Chris Morrison on critical copyright literacy (e.g., Secker et al., 2019); we very much hope this module contributes towards this critical approach.
For more in-depth copyright training, we run training sessions (both online and in-person) for UCL staff and students. Please see our current programme, which includes copyright for research, PGRs and teaching, and more specialised sessions on open licences and publishing contracts.
We also welcome your own suggestions. We have delivered/are planning bespoke sessions on various topics, including the NHS copyright licence, copyright for images, and copyright for creative works. Please contact email@example.com to arrange a session for your School.
By ucyldao, on 7 November 2022
November is Academic Writing Month: an annual event giving you the opportunity to set some writing goals and put time aside to meet them, while sharing progress and writing tips with others. Whether you are an academic researcher, a postgraduate research student or in any other role involving academic writing, we hope that your writing is going well and that your research article, thesis draft, book chapter, monograph or conference paper gets a bit closer to being completed.
Completion, of course, is just the beginning. Take journal articles, for example: imagine that happy moment when you click on ‘Submit’ on a publisher’s platform. Even better, imagine the moment you receive the acceptance email confirming that your paper will be published, after weeks or months of waiting, responding to reviewers’ comments, editing and resubmitting. Publication will be your reward for all these writing efforts, and for a moment it feels like there’s nothing else to think about other than your next publication.
Except there is still something important to think about. On acceptance, you are asked to sign a publisher agreement. Unless you are publishing the paper open access, what you are asked to sign is usually either a copyright transfer agreement where you assign your copyright to the publisher, or an exclusive licence where you keep copyright but still need permission from the publisher to reuse your own paper. As you normally need to sign the agreement quickly to avoid publication delays, there is little opportunity to read the terms and conditions carefully, let alone to question or negotiate them, particularly if the licence is a click-through document.
Most of us have done this – I certainly have: in the excitement and relief of getting a paper article accepted, we sign away our rights to the paper, often limiting its potential to be accessed, read, and cited. And while sometimes a standard agreement allows us to keep some rights – including the right to reuse the article in our own teaching, or to republish in a collection – these are not guaranteed and are often restrictive; like the right to share the article online but only 12-24 months after publication. There are good reasons why cOAlition S funders, including UKRI and the Wellcome Trust, require their funded researchers to retain their rights to their publications and share them with the most permissive Creative Commons Licence. But regardless of your funder, being aware of what you are giving away in a publisher agreement and trying to keep some rights is beneficial both for you as a researcher and for the audiences you want to reach.
Three things you can do about your rights
- In-between writing sprees this November, take this short quiz about your rights as author. What do you stand to lose if you sign the publisher agreement without reading it? Discover some simple things you can’t do after signing a standard agreement.
- Next time you are presented with an agreement to sign, take a moment to read it through. Are you keeping enough rights to share your knowledge as you want to?
- Come along to one of our sessions on Copyright and your publishing contracts. You can bring a contract to discuss. The next session is in person on 7 December 2022, but we also run sessions online and on demand. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for advice or to arrange a session.
By ucyldao, on 24 October 2022
Happy Open Access Week 2022!
This year’s theme is about opening up knowledge to tackle the climate crisis. It is about addressing inequities in how different communities access, create, share and use knowledge and resources that make it possible to prepare and respond to natural disasters and to understand and develop rapid solutions to problems caused by climate change. It is also about highlighting and celebrating practices that open the way to more collaborative, inclusive and sustainable ways of working.
Open practices and climate change
Open access – traditionally defined as immediate online availability of research publications, in ways that allow anyone to read them, share with others and reuse them – plays an important role in enabling access to knowledge; but clearly it is not enough. The scope of Open Access week itself has evolved over the years to acknowledge this. Diverse communities – researchers, educators, policy makers, innovators, activists, the wider public – from different economic, cultural and discipline backgrounds need to be able to share ideas, data and tools, as well as literature. In other words: open science.
Open science (or ‘open scholarship’) includes any practice that enables the sharing of knowledge, tools and resources throughout the research process, in ways that allow further development of these resources. Transparency is key in open science, so that research processes and outcomes can be discovered, evaluated and, where relevant, reproduced by others. Open access, open data, reproducible research practices, open education and, crucially, citizen science, are all practices that help address the progress of climate change research while being sustainable themselves.
But for open science to be possible, barriers – geopolitical, economic, societal, or legal – need to be identified and addressed in flexible ways.
The role of intellectual property and open licences
Intellectual property is one of these barriers; but can also provide the answers. Research literature, educational materials, websites, databases, software and hardware equipment are all, by default, protected by copyright, design rights or patent rights. And while it is true that, in many cases, IP rights provide commercialisation incentives that make innovation possible, it can also be argued that climate change and the need for fast interventions is not one of these cases (see relevant article on IP’s role against climate change).
What can then be done to open up knowledge and resources so that anyone in the world can, not only access them, but also evaluate, adapt, develop and reuse them?
The first – relatively simple – solution is open licensing. Open licences work within IP law, to determine how others can reuse materials that are under copyright. Creative Commons Attribution Licences can be applied to various works, including documents, websites, film, images and data. The most permissive CC BY licence allows sharing, adapting and even reusing commercially, as long as the authors are acknowledged. Similarly, open source licences can be applied to software, code and even hardware. Examples of open licensed materials that help education, research and innovation in climate change include the use of CC licences in preserving cultural heritage affected by climate change, the use of open source licences to tackle climate change and the open licensing of the UNU website, which focusses on environmental issues.
One step further from open licensing is waiving copyright and releasing a work in the public domain. Waiving copyright can boost collaboration and innovation, particularly where there is ambiguity around who owns rights across different country legislations.
The second way in which IP can help foster openness is through initiatives that seek to address IP conflicts and align policies, so that, for example, rights ownership, commercialisation and openness can co-exist. For example, the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) is doing a lot of work on addressing IP issues with a view to accelerate environmental research and technology development, while initiatives like the Open Climate Campaign and the European Commission address legal and governance barriers so that openness can be better supported.
Finally, open availability of knowledge related to climate change comes with a responsibility to support the understanding and critical evaluation of these open resources. As with any politically charged issue vulnerable to misinformation, information literacy is essential. Educators, including library professionals, are in a good position to offer guidance on discovering, evaluating, using, attributing and compiling evidence from various sources. Understanding how rights and open licensing can help open up knowledge is part of these responsibilities.
For UCL’s current skills programme see the library’s training sessions.
For advice on copyright and licensing, please contact email@example.com.
Copyright infringement, plagiarism, or both? Keeping it both ethical and legal when using others’ work
By ucyldao, on 3 October 2022
One question that often comes our way refers to copyright infringement and plagiarism. Are they the same (mal)practice? In what ways do they overlap or differ? Being able to recognise and avoid these practices is essential: plagiarising others’ work and/or using it illegally damages both the interests of the author and your own reputation.
Take this image for example. We didn’t create this diagram: we found it on the web and included it here. We have credited MLauba as the person who created this graphic. We have also acknowledged them as the copyright holder, and shared the image under the licence they specified. If we hadn’t acknowledged the author and passed this image as our own work, this would be plagiarism. If we had acknowledged the author but didn’t meet copyright requirements (i.e. follow the terms of the licence) this would have been copyright infringement. Plagiarising someone else’s work violates their moral right to be attributed as the author. Breaching copyright has more to do with violating their commercial and legal interests.
Here we outline the main features of each practice, and offer advice on how to avoid them. Please contact us if you would like more information.
By ucyldao, on 20 September 2022
I was delighted to join UCL in August, sharing the copyright support role with Chris Holland and reporting to Hazel Ingrey in Teaching and Learning Services (TLS). My research background is in Psychology but I’ve worked for many years in open access, copyright and, in the last couple of years, the wider world of open science, with a focus on developing communications and training in open practices.
I’m particularly excited to join UCL at a time when copyright literacy is becoming more relevant than ever in higher education. I’m not just talking about knowing when and how to copy and reuse others’ work in research, learning and teaching, although, of course, this is essential. I’m also talking about authors’ rights playing a key role in a very wide range of initiatives, including the connected curriculum, the development of open educational resources, calls for rights retention in research publications, and practically all open science practices, seeking to make research openly accessible and reusable. From student-created films, articles and other outputs to FAIR data and from open source software to citizen science projects, an understanding of copyright and open licences gives you, the creators of knowledge, not only the confidence that you are following the rules, but also the opportunity to shape the rules. Do contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in discussing any of these topics.
Please watch this space in the coming months; we have a lot of exciting work underway, including creating additional guidance on the copyright website and some online modules that we hope will be fun as well as informative. In the meantime, have a look at our scheduled sessions below or contact us at email@example.com with any copyright questions you have or to arrange a session at your school.
Upcoming training sessions
- Copyright for postgraduate research students, 15 November 2022 at 10 am on Teams. Join us to learn all things copyright related to your thesis, publications and research data. When and how can you use others’ work in your research? How do you manage copyright to your own research? Full description and registration
- Copyright for research staff, 17 November 2022 at 10 am on Teams. In this session we refresh your memory on the basics of copyright before we address rights and licensing in your research publications, data and open access practices. Full description and registration
- Copyright for teaching staff, 22 November 2022 at 2 pm on Teams. When can you include a resource (e.g. a quote, image, recording) in a lecture? What about a recorded lecture? What about Moodle? While this session outlines what isn’t advisable to do, it also focuses on what is possible. Full description and registration
- Understanding open licences, 29 November 2022 at 3 pm on Teams. This live online session discusses open licences in research, learning and teaching, with a focus on Creative Commons Licences. Full description and registration.
To arrange a session on a different date that suits you, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. See also the full calendar of Library Skills training for sessions on literature searching, referencing, systematic reviews, data management plans and much more.
Update from Icepops 2022
Icepops stands for International Copyright-Literacy Event with Playful Opportunities for Practitioners and Scholars. The event was devised by Chris Morrison and Jane Secker and is run in conjunction with the CILIP Information Literacy Group.
Judging from this year’s event, held in Oxford, ‘playful’ is an understatement. Icepops is serious fun – and I’m not saying this because of the stickers, sweets, balloons, puppets, ice-breaker games and lovely food; although these things certainly made the event unique! This is a really friendly and interactive event, bringing various people from different backgrounds and levels of expertise together to share ideas, not just on their favourite ice cream flavours but also on how to shape copyright education and why this matters.
I learnt a lot in this event. Every single presentation was relevant and interesting; a most extensive discussion on topics covered will follow in future posts. For now, my main takeaways are:
- Dr Emily Hudson’s keynote on the pastiche exception in copyright law. An inspiring session, both in terms of addressing nuances in the law and in terms of pedagogy: a great model for encouraging learners to think critically about copyright.
- The keynote by Dr Andrea Wallace and Douglas McCarthy on the future of open access to digital collections in the UK: a colourful journey told almost entirely in images. The discussion revolved around the GLAM principle that works in the public domain should remain in the public domain once digitised (also see their 2020 article).
- The Copyright Jedi convention on the future of copyright education. Many valuable perspectives on critical copyright literacy; on the need for the general public to have a better understanding of rights; and a call not to be afraid of copyright but use relevant knowledge as a means to an end.
Finally, there were plenty of updates and exciting ideas communicated in the lightning talks and the demos session. I had to opportunity to present a new online resource for students – watch this space for more information soon.