Questions and Answers from Third Party Copyright and Fair dealing session

Here is a summary of the Q&As from the ‘Third Party Copyright and Fair dealing’ session last week. Thanks to Lorna for providing the detail.

Q: What do I need to do about copyright when I finish my PhD and wish to publish a commercial book?

A: The publisher would be proactive in clearing material in copyright, and would seek permissions before publishing. They are typically risk-averse.

Q: What about if I wish to self-publish?

A: Then you would be responsible for seeking the necessary permissions and bearing any risk.

Q: How do I know whether or not I can put my published wok into a repository e.g. on ResearchGate?

A: You can use SHERPA/Romeo  to check the policy of each publisher/journal title.

Q: Can copyright ownership be passed on to another person, e.g. an executor?

A: Yes, copyright is a property right, and so it can be passed on or bequeathed like other possessions.

Q: I have taken photos of patients in my research. Are there any copyright implications when using these?

A: No, you own the copyright. You would be expected to seek informed consent as part of your ethical research practice, and would need to consider privacy and data protection if they are identifiable.

Q: I have taken photos of groups of people in a public setting, but have not sought their permission as they are indistinct or just part of the scene. Is that OK?

A: Where people are incidentally included in a photograph, or are not the main focus, there are unlikely to be data protection issues.  However, to respect people’s privacy in private spaces you should generally obtain consent to take photographs first, explaining what use you will make of the photograph, or give people the opportunity to move out of the shot.  For general shots at degree ceremonies where taking photographs is the norm, this would probably not apply, but if you wished to take shots of specific individuals as the main focus, it would be good practice to obtain consent.

Q: Are textiles (e.g. ceremonial robes) protected under copyright, as a work of art?

A: Works of artistic craftsmanship are protected by copyright.  This term probably means works created with skilled craftsmanship, with aesthetic appeal and where artistic form is more important than functional considerations.  Machine made items would probably not fall into this category.  So ceremonial dress probably wouldn’t be covered, textiles and the mace would depend on the item and how much artistic merit they have.

Q: What happens if you reach a dead end when trying to find the copyright holder to seek permission?

A: You would need to take a ‘risk-based’ approach, and weigh up the likelihood of the copyright holder seeking redress, perhaps financially.


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