Introduction to Copyright

What is it?

Copyright is a property right. It gives legal protection to a work so that other people cannot copy or adapt the material without permission. It allows the creator of a work to control how their work is used and protects their livelihood.

Simply being in possession of material, for example by borrowing it from a library or purchasing it, does not necessarily give you the right to make copies.

It is important that all members of Marjon, both staff and students, are aware of and observe copyright law.


What is covered by copyright legislation?

Copyright protects :

  • Original literary, dramatic, musical or artistic works including newspaper articles, computer programmes, databases, the lyrics of a song, letters, e-mails, web pages, paintings, drawings, photographs, maps, charts and cartoons.
  • Sound recordings, films and broadcasts.
  • The typographical arrangement ie the printed layout of published editions.

Under the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 copyright is an automatic protection for any work :

  • which is original
  • which is in a format that could be copied
  • whose creator is a British citizen, or was first published in the UK

How long does copyright last?

  • Copyright in published literary, dramatic or musical works usually lasts for 70 years after the death of the author.
  • If a work is published anonymously, or has no personal author, copyright lasts for 70 years from the first date of publication.
  • The printed layout of the page is protected for 25 years from the date of publication.
  • Sound recordings, broadcasts, crown copyright and parliamentary copyright lasts for 50 years from the year created.

For more information please try our FAQs page

 or email Alice Primmer on