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Developing a Copyright Literacy Community at UCL

By Christina Daouti, on 29 April 2024

Copyright literacy – the ‘knowledge, skills and behaviours that individuals require when working with copyright content in the digital age’ (Morrison and Secker, 2015) – is an essential part of academic and professional skillsets. It is also much more than complying with licences and the law. It is about understanding how copyright came to be, what it seeks to achieve, whose interests are relevant and how it can be used as a tool to make knowledge more open and collaborative.

At UCL we have a service, a range of resources and an education programme to support and advise staff and students on various aspects to copyright.  This is informed and constantly updated based on feedback from participants, common queries that we receive, and developments that raise new issues to address, such as copyright in AI-generated works. However, to develop copyright literacy in ways that are most relevant and helpful to you, we would like to work with you.

Pointillist painting of four 19th century peasants, a man and three women, harvesting apples in a field. The man is using a long stick to get the apples down from a tree. One woman is looking up at the tree. Two women are gathering the apples fallen on the ground and putting them in baskets. A row of trees at a distance in the background.

‘Apple harvest’ by Camille Pissarro, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

We are setting up the UCL Copyright Literacy Community to give all UCL staff and students the opportunity to shape copyright literacy further. We would like to work with you to make the UCL community even more knowledgeable and confident around copyright. Whether you are a student (undergraduate, postgraduate, research student) or a member of staff in a research, teaching or professional services role, we value your ideas and experiences.

  • You don’t need to be a copyright expert to join: we anticipate that members of the community will have different levels of copyright knowledge and will learn from eah other. What is needed is an understanding of the relevance of copyright literacy in your area, and a willingness to embed it into your practice.
  • As part of the community, you will have the opportunity to advise on the further development of the existing programme, bring forward your own suggestions and prioritise areas where further support is needed. You will work with us to translate these ideas into projects that are directly relevant to your area.
  • You will be part of a supportive peer network that discusses all things copyright. We will provide enough steering and resources for you to take the community in directions that help you and your practice area.

In the first instance, we invite UCL staff and students to join a core community of 20 people. The first meeting is being scheduled in late June. We anticipate a broader community to develop later.

If you are interested in joining or would like more information, please contact copyright@ucl.ac.uk.

Related articles: ‘Getting comfortable with uncertainty’: developing students’ critical copyright literacy in the age of genAI, by Christine Daoutis and Hazel Ingrey. UCL Education conference blog, April 2024.

Copyright and your research: new series on UCL Open Science blog

By Christina Daouti, on 8 April 2024

An open book resting on a flat surface, with a lighbulb in the middle of the book. Scribbles of graphs, diagrams and text are coming out of the lighbulb, moving upwards.

Image by Freepik.

How does understanding  copyright support your research activities, from including copyright materials in a thesis or article to negotiating publishing contracts to text and data mining? A new blog series on copyright as it relates to your research has been launched.

Read the first post in the series for an introduction.

 

 

Wrapping up fair dealing week 2024: what next?

By Christina Daouti, on 1 March 2024

This Fair Dealing Week is coming to a close. This blog has clarified a few points on copyright, copyright exceptions and fair dealing:

These points highlight a broader approach when ot comes to copyright: many copyright decisions will depend on context, personal judgement and risk. Recent discussions around copyright and artificial intelligence highlight these points further, as the very concepts of what is original/protected by copyright, what constitutes infringement and who owns an AI-generated work are challenged.

Copyright support at UCL provides resources and training to help you navigate this uncertainty: from introducing the essentials of permissions and licensing to explaining how copyright exceptions apply in learning, teaching and research, and from helping you understand and assert your own rights to highlighting recent developments in this area. Further, we will be offering opportunities very soon for different communities at UCL to come together and discuss aspects of copyright most relevant to them.

Learn more.

1. Complete our 7-question copyright exceptions quiz.

This is to help you understand copyright exceptions better: you can submit answers anonymously and we won’t be using your responses for any purpose.

2. Register for one of our sessions, on Teams or in person.

Our sessions cover copyright for PGRs, research staff and teaching staff; open licences; and publishing contracts. Sessions last up to 1 hour and 20 minutes.

3. Complete the Copyright Essentials online tutorial.

A self-paced, online tutorial introducing copyright in a fun and approachable way. It takes around 20-25 minutes to complete.

Contact copyright support at copyright@ucl.ac.uk to ask a question, arrange an appointment or schedule your own training session.

Copyright myth #4: the appeal of set percentages.

By Christina Daouti, on 29 February 2024

Top view of a hand taking a slice out of a colourful pie chart. Each segment is in a different colour.

Image by Freepik.

So far this Fair Dealing Week we have addressed a few common beliefs around what is ‘fair’ when using copyright materials. It is often thought, for example, that as long as the source is acknowledged or the use is non-commercial, it is OK to reproduce someone else’s work without permission.

This post is about the commonly asked question of quantity. How much from a work (e.g. book, article, thesis, blog post) can be reproduced in another work under ‘fair dealing’? It is often recommended that 5% (at most 10%) can definitely be used.

It is perhaps more accurate to think that, say, 5% from a source is likely to be fair in many cases, and use this percentage as a rule of thumb. However, this is still not helpful: it is not defined in the legislation how much can be used under fair dealing. How much is ‘fair’ is defined and shaped in court decisions. The quantity used (e.g. the number of extracts from a single source) and the proportion in relation to the whole original work, but also to the new work, should be taken into account. The amount used should be justified by the purpose, making related decisions a matter of judgement and risk.

This is probably why we all tend to have an appetite for set percentages when relying on copyright exceptions  – for example, like the 10%/one chapter rule specified in the CLA licence when using course materials. Our appetite for percentages is an appetite for clarity and certainty. This, however, is incompatible with ‘fair dealing’ as a concept. It is also likely to limit us, rather than help us, when making copyright-related decisions. In some contexts, it may be considered fair to use more than a prescribed percentage would suggest – and in other cases, what is deemed fair may be less. Developing a broader understanding of copyright as it applies to research and teaching helps make more nuanced decisions and ultimately be more creative when using copyright materials.

Learn more.

1. Complete our 7-question copyright exceptions quiz.

This is to help you understand copyright exceptions better: you can submit answers anonymously and we won’t be using your responses for any purpose.

2. Register for one of our sessions, on Teams or in person.

Our sessions cover copyright for PGRs, research staff and teaching staff; open licences; and publishing contracts. Sessions last up to 1 hour and 20 minutes.

3. Complete the Copyright Essentials online tutorial.

A self-paced, online tutorial introducing copyright in a fun and approachable way. It takes around 20-25 minutes to complete.

Further reading: quotation, criticism and review, copyrightuser website 

Contact copyright support at copyright@ucl.ac.uk to ask a question, arrange an appointment or schedule your own training session.

Copyright myth #3: ‘I can use materials without permission if the use is non-commercial’.

By Christina Daouti, on 28 February 2024

A cartoon drawing of a man sitting at a desk, facing a computer screen out of which banknotes are flying. The man, has his arms wide open and looks happy watching the money.

Free Clip Art, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

On day 3 of  Fair Dealing Week (26 February to 1 March 2024) we discuss another aspect of ‘fair dealing’ when using copyright materials: non-commercial use.

It is often assumed that, unless you making money from a work, it is OK to include copyright materials in the work without permission. ‘Non-commercial’ use (and/or acknowledging the source, as discussed in the previous post) is often deemed to be ‘fair dealing’.

It may be useful to keep the following in mind:

  • Fair dealing does not preclude commercial use. As discussed in a previous post, whether using a work is ‘fair dealing’ depends on many factors, including the purpose (which is related to UK copyright exceptions), the amount and proportion of the material used in that particular context and, crucially, the effect the use is likely to have on the interests of the author/copyright owner. As many of these interests are economic (i.e. when your use is likely to affect sales of the original work) it is perhaps easy to assume that ‘non-commercial’ use is more likely to be fair.  However, this does not mean that any commercial use is not ‘fair’.
  • Posting a work on the Internet is ‘commercial publication’. In UK copyright law, ‘making the work available to the public by means of an electronic retrieval system’, in other words, electronic publication, is considered to be a commercial activity even if you don’t profit from it financially.
  • Non-commercial use is a restriction when relying on certain exceptions, but not others. Copying material for research and private study or as part of teaching may be permitted in UK copyright law, as long as the purpose is not commercial and the use is ‘fair dealing’. Copying and reusing material  for the purposes of criticism, review and quotation (and news reporting) does, not, however, have a non-commercial restriction. The use must still be ‘fair dealing’ and this may well restrict what and how much  you decide to share; however the use can, indeed, be commercial. This is useful to know as you will most likely be relying on the quotation exception when including material in theses, research publications  and teaching materials.

Learn more.

1. Complete our 7-question copyright exceptions quiz.

This is to help you understand copyright exceptions better: you can submit answers anonymously and we won’t be using your responses for any purpose.

2. Register for one of our sessions, on Teams or in person.

Our sessions cover copyright for PGRs, research staff and teaching staff; open licences; and publishing contracts. Sessions last up to 1 hour and 20 minutes.

3. Complete the Copyright Essentials online tutorial.

A self-paced, online tutorial introducing copyright in a fun and approachable way. It takes around 20-25 minutes to complete.

 

You can also contact copyright support at copyright@ucl.ac.uk to ask a question, arrange an appointment or schedule your own training session.

Copyright myth #2: ‘Acknowledging a source removes the need for permission’

By Christina Daouti, on 27 February 2024

A stack of books with blue and red bookmarks inserted in them.

Image by Freepik.

On the second day of  Fair Dealing Week (26 February to 1 March 2024) we discuss a point that often comes up in copyright training sessions.

If I acknowledge the author, I don’t need to get their permission’.

Acknowledgement is essential, but permission is still necessary.

Acknowledgement of any sources used is good academic practice, besides any requirements set out in copyright legislation. Even when materials are out of copyright (public domain) you are still advised to give acknowledgement where possible.

However, this does not remove the need to have permission. When a work is protected by copyright, getting permission is necessary by default. A granted permission or licence specifies exactly how, when and where you will be using the material and often indicates how credit should be given, too (for example, by linking to an artist’s website).

Seeking permission is not necessary when a licence covering your reuse is already in place. This includes open licences, such as Creative Commons licences, which allow you to use materials under specific terms and with attribution to the author.

What about copyright exceptions?

When it comes to copyright exceptions, the three main exceptions relevant to research and teaching (non-commercial research and private study; criticism, review and quotation; illustration for instruction) expect sufficient ackmowledgement (usually including the title and author of the work) as part of dealing with the material fairly – unless this is ‘impossible for reasons of practicality or otherwise’. As discussed in previous posts, ‘fair dealing’ is much more than acknowledgement. It includes a consideration of the purpose and context, amount/proportion used, and impact on the interests of the author/copyright owner.

Learn more.

To learn more about copyright

1. Complete our 7-question copyright exceptions quiz.

This is to help you understand copyright exceptions better: you can submit answers anonymously and we won’t be using your responses for any purpose.

2. Register for one of our sessions, on Teams or in person.

Our sessions cover copyright for PGRs, research staff and teaching staff; open licences; and publishing contracts.

3. Ask us a question.

Contact us to ask a question, arrange an appointment or schedule your own training session.

 

Copyright myth #1: ‘free to access’ means ‘free to reuse’

By Christina Daouti, on 26 February 2024

This year we are marking  Fair Dealing Week (26 February to 1 March 2024) with a series of blog posts addressing some copyright myths. Our first post starts with a simple but important message.

‘Free to access’ does not necessarily mean ‘free to reuse’.

You are in the middle of preparing a thesis chapter, a journal article, a pice of coursework or a lecture. You want to include materials created by others: photos, diagrams, text, or video. Some of these materials are publicly available on the web: an image you found in a Google search, a publicly available website, a Youtube video. Do you need permission to reuse them?

The default answer is ‘yes’. Unless it is clear – via a statement or licence – that you can reuse the material, by default you need to to ask the copyright owner for permission to reproduce, share or adapt the material in your own work.

There is a common misconception about images discovered on the Inernet. If they are free to view and download, surely they are also free to reuse, for example share on social media, include in an article or insert in presentation slides? The answer is ‘no’: this is not the case. For example, to reuse this illustration by artist Marloes de Vries (which sums up the issue really well) I got permission – not only because not doing so could result in a take-down notice and/or the payment of a fine but also, crucially, because it would be disrespectful to their work to do otherwise. You can read more on this from the artist.

A cartoon of a young man walking past a fruit stall displaying apples, pears and oranges. He is grabbing one apple from the stall and says: 'I surely don't have to pay for something that is up for grabs, right?'.

Image created by Marloes De Vries: https://marloesdevries.com/blog/copyright-infringement/. Reproduced with the artist’s permission.

What about using material under ‘fair dealing’?

In the UK, you may be able to rely on certain copyright exceptions to use limited amounts of materials without permission: these include copying for your own private study, using materials to illustrate a point in teaching, and including materials in the context of a thesis or article etc. Relying on these exceptions is subject to ‘fair dealing’: thinking of whether, by using the material, you are being fair and honest. You need to think

  • how well your use is supported by the exception
  • whether the extent of your use is justified by your purpose (for example, are you using more than you need to explain something in a presentation or support an argument in a paper?)
  • whether your use is at odds with the interests (economic or otherwise) of the author.

Copyright exceptions exist in the legislation for a reason. You are encouraged to consider using them in the context of your research and teaching. To rely on them with more confidence, you may want to learn more about them. Here are three things you can do:

1. Complete our 7-question copyright exceptions quiz.

This is to help you understand copyright exceptions better: you can submit answers anonymously and we won’t be using your responses for any purpose.

2. Register for one of our sessions, on Teams or in person.

Our sessions cover copyright for PGRs, research staff and teaching staff; open licences; and publishing contracts.

3. Ask us a question.

Contact us to ask a question, arrange an appointment or schedule your own training session.

 

‘Keeping it fair and honest’: how copyright exceptions can support your thesis, publications and teaching.

By Christina Daouti, on 22 February 2024

A square made of four puzzle pieces, each with a different title: 'Get permission or a licence', 'Use open access materials', Rely on a copyright exception', 'Use out of copyright materials'.

Square puzzle: Open Clipart, public domain. Text added by C. Daoutis.

Fair Dealing Week (26 February to 1 March 2024) is an annual opportunity to highlight copyright exceptions and how you may rely on them when using copyright materials in your studies, research and teaching. Although the main focus of the week is on ‘fair use’ in the US – quite different from ‘fair dealing’ – in previous years events were organised across countries with similar provisions, including the UK.

This year we will be marking fair dealing with a series of blog posts that discuss three copyright exceptions in UK copyright law that are subject to what we call ‘fair dealing’. We are also running a Q and A session on Monday the 26th of February at 2 pm at the UCL Institute of Education. 

Register for the copyright exceptions Q and A

When using materials created by others (text, images, video etc) you normally need permission or a licence from the copyright owner. There are, however, other options to consider. In some cases, materials are in the public domain, either because copyright has expired or because the copyright owner has waived the copyright – as is the case in the square puzzle image used here. In other cases, materials are in copyright but are available under an open licence, allowing reuse under certain terms. Examples include open access articles, images available under a Creative Commons licence, and open source software.

In specific cases, you may also be able to use materials without permission by relying on ‘permitted acts’ (also known as copyright exceptions) which are defined in UK copyright law. Some of these exceptions are subject to ‘fair dealing’, which essentially means treating the materials in a ‘fair-minded and honest’ way.  It is essential to understand how you can rely on copyright exceptions as this will help you use materials in a more flexible way. To help you test your knowledge, we have put together a 7-question quiz on copyright exceptions.

Take our new copyright exceptions quiz

Whether you are already a pro at fair dealing exceptions or would like to know more, look out for more copyright posts next week. We also hope you can join the Q and A on Monday!

How can AI help you with your systematic literature review? Reflections from a two-day seminar.

By Christina Daouti, on 29 January 2024

Guest post by Veronica Parisi, Training and Clinical Support team, Cruciform Hub, UCL.

As the debate on the use of AI is becoming more and more widespread, a new blog by Veronica Parisi (UCL) and Anthea Sutton (University of Sheffield) offers some reflections from a two-day seminar centred on the use of AI, with a focus on ChatGPT, for the development of systematic literature reviews. If you, like us, feel new to the topic or are just curious, please head to our post and have a read. We hope you enjoy it and find it informative.

While the post specifically addresses using AI in systematic reviews, broader questions emerge related to ownership/co-authorship, ethical considerations and transparency in the use of AI tools. Copyright is central in these discussions. Future posts here will address copyright as it relates to AI in more detail.

January 2024: new works in the public domain, good tidings for images, and a new year’s resolution

By Christina Daouti, on 11 January 2024

Happy 2024!

Painting of a wheatfield with horses in vibrant colours against a blue sky.

The Wheatfield 1929 Raoul Dufy 1877-1953. Bequeathed by Mrs A.F. Kessler 1983 http://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/T03564.

This year is already an interesting one in terms of copyright. As with every year, new creative works (e.g. books, plays, music and paintings) entered the public domain on the 1st of January: copyright protection for these works has expired.

Well-known works that entered the public domain in the UK on the 1st of January include the works of Dylan Thomas, the plays of Eugene O’Neill, the paintings of Raoul Dufy and songs by Hank Williams. A full list of public domain works by country can be found on Wikipedia.

What you need to know about copyright duration and the public domain.

  •   A work can be in the public domain in one country but still protected in other countries. The works of Auden, Tolkien and Picasso are still in copyright in the EU, but have now entered the public domain in most countries in Africa and Asia and in New Zealand. How long copyright lasts and which criteria determine this, varies across countries. Different criteria come into play, including the type of work (e.g. if it is a book, a film or a recording), who created the work, whether the work was published, and the date the work was created. It matters in which jurisdiction the work is being used, as copyright legislation where the work is being used applies. In the UK, copyright for literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works lasts for 70 years after the death of the author. Complex rules apply for some works that were unpublished before 1989, meaning that some very old works are still in copyright until 31st December 2039.
  • Copyright may have expired for some works, but other rights such as trademarks may still apply. This is the case with the original Mickey Mouse character who just entered the public domain in the US.
  • Copyright may have expired for an early version of a work (again, think of the original Mickey Mouse character as drawn in 1928) but later versions of the same character, or translations/adaptations of a literary or artistic work, may still be protected.

Images of artistic works in the public domain. If a painting is in the public domain, is a reproduction of the painting (e.g. a digital photo) a copyright work in its own right? Many museums appear to think so: digitised copies of old paintings they hold are often marked as the museum’s copyright and licensed to users for a fee. Despite these works being in the public domain, users – including researchers who wish to include the images in their own works – often need to pay high fees to access and reuse high resolution images of the artworks. Yet, for a work to enjoy copyright protection, it must be deemed ‘original’ in the sense that it is ‘the author’s own intellectual creation’. Criteria used to assess originality are determined and applied differently across countries. There is a need for harmonised criteria and guidelines (see Wallace and Euler, 2020 and Wallace, 2023, for an extensive discussion and position on this issue). A case recently ruled in the UK (THJ v Sheridan, 2023) addressing a copyright dispute over graphic interfaces, has helped raise the originality thershold, clarifying that more than technical skill and labour is necessary to deem a reproduction an original work.

Impressionistic painting of a sunrise: an orange sun, the sea, a boat with two human figures in it. Claude Monet's signature on the bottom left.

Claude Monet: Impression, Sunrise (1872). Oil on canvas, 48 × 63 cm (18.9 × 24.8 in). Musée Marmottan Monet, Paris. Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Is this the dawn of a new era? Although legal precedents have pointed in this direction for years, there is hope that cultural heritage organisations will be guided by this latest ruling to review their practices and stop licensing works that are out of copyright (see recent article by Bendor Grosvernor).

New year’s resolutions. There seems to be scope for many cultural heritage organisations to make a new year’s resolution to open up their collections as much as possible. In the meantime, there is one thing you can add to your own list of resolutions: learn more or refresh your knowledge on copyright. Here are some ideas: