If you want to include other people’s work (for example, extracts from publications, images, maps, photographs, tables, etc.) in a paper/book you plan to publish this can mean you need to seek permission from the copyright holder. Note this may apply to work you authored yourself if you published the work and assigned copyright to a publisher.
Permission may not be necessary if:
There are a number of exceptions to copyright that are permitted – see the Government’s Exceptions to copyright information – but two exceptions are particularly relevant if you wish to included copyrighted works in a work you plan to publish:
1. Fair dealing for criticism, review or quotation
You may reproduce limited amounts of material for the purposes of criticism, review or quotation.
2. Fair dealing for parody, caricature and pastiche
You may reproduce limited amounts of material for the purposes of parody, caricature and pastiche. The use must be fair to the rights holders and this exception cannot be overridden by contract.
How much of a work can you use under Fair Dealing?
There is no statutory definition of fair dealing and the extent of the extract you are permitted to use is not specified. Factors that have been identified by the courts as relevant in determining whether a particular dealing with a work is fair include:
Does using the work affect the market for the original work? If a use of a work acts as a substitute for it, causing the owner to lose revenue, then it is not likely to be fair
Is the amount of the work taken reasonable and appropriate? Was it necessary to use the amount that was taken? Usually only part of a work may be used
The relative importance of any one factor will vary according to the case in hand and the type of dealing in question.
See the Fair Dealing Fact Sheet produced by the Office of Scholarly Communication, Cambridge University LIbraries
Duration of copyright depends upon whether a work is published or unpublished and whether the creator is known or unknown
In general, copyright exists in a work for 70 years following the death of the author for: literary, dramatic, artistic and musical works, films and video recordings. If the work has several authors, the copyright protection lasts for 70 years following the death of the last surviving author. Copyright lasts for 70 years for sound recordings and broadcasts and 25 years for the typographical arrangement of published editions.
Type of material
Duration of copyright
Literary & artistic works
70 years from death of author
If several authors 70 years following death of last surviving author
Dramatic & musical work
70 years from publication if no named author
70 years from recording & performance rights (from November 2013)
70 years following death of last surviving contributor from the list of: director, producer, author of screenplay, composer of soundtrack
50 years from date of broadcast
25 years from publication
125 years from publication but subject to a waiver
Unpublished works made before 1st August 1989
Copyright expires on 31st December 2039
Start by identifying the rights holder. If you are not sure who they are or what their contact details are, ask their publisher. Publishers usually have a Rights and Permissions department. It can be difficult if the author has died less than 70 years ago and the Estate or relatives cannot be contacted. Works which fall into this category are known as “Orphan Works”. See advice on locating copyright owners from the Intellectual Property Office at: https://www.gov.uk/using-somebody-elses-intellectual-property/copyright
Get permission from the rights holder in writing – email is acceptable. Consider carefully what you need permission for and consider future possible uses - if your needs change you would need to contact the copyright owner again to ask for permission to use the item in a different, or additional, way.
Include the following sections of information
Request that they confirm the following:
What to do if permission is granted
If a copyright holder indicates that permission has been granted you should indicate this at the appropriate point in your work or thesis, e.g. "Permission to reproduce this... has been granted by...". You should keep a copy of any letters or e-mails you received from rights holders.
What to do if permission is not granted
If permission is not granted or the cost of permission is too great you may not be able to use the third party material in your publication and have to leave it out. Consider whether there are any suitable alternatives.