Universities are spaces where content is regularly shared in teaching and learning, and most libraries have clear copyright guidelines and procedures in place to minimize risk an ensure copyright compliance. But it’s worth noting the importance of being proactive when it comes to copyright and intellectual property – don’t wait until you’re contacted by a rightsholder.
We’ve put together three tips for staying proactive with copyright:
1. Be familiar with the licences your institution holds
Copyright licences provide permission for work to be reused under certain conditions. Most universities hold various licences that permit the use of content for educational purposes without breaching the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. Licenses can include:
- Copyright Licensing Agency Higher Education Licence
- The Newspaper Licensing Agency Educational Licence
- The Educational Recording Agency Educational Recording Licence
- PRS for Music/PPL
Once you’re familiar with what licences your institutions holds and what they cover, you’ll be able to advise others on how they can reuse content for learning, teaching and research.
2. Have clear copyright policies and guidelines in place
Copyright is relevant to all members of a university from staff to students whether they’re using published materials for study, research or teaching, so it’s important to have clear policies and guidelines in place for everyone to refer to and follow to limit the risk of infringement.
It’s a good idea to have a clear page on your website with the copyright basics, tips for staying compliant or who to get in touch with for further advice.
Also, by putting together these policies and guidelines, you could familiarise yourself further with copyright and stay up to date with any changes to law or policy.
3. Understand how copyright applies to your library
Librarians and library staff are the gatekeepers to the content found in the library, and are often the first port of call when it comes to anything relating to copyright and reusing content. This means that it is a good idea to understand domestic and global copyright law so that you can recognise copyright issues and answer simple copyright questions and provide advice to others. You’re not expected to be able to provide legal advice, but a basic understanding of copyright and how it applies to your library can help you be proactive in your institution’s copyright compliance.