Monkey Business

Money with a Camera taken by Ross Websdale, 2009 (CC BY NC-SA 2.0)

‘Money with a Camera’ taken by Ross Websdale, 2009 (CC BY NC-SA 2.0)

A photograph of a monkey or monkey selfie is at the centre of an international row over copyright authorship and ownership. British wildlife photographer David Slater, visited the Indonesian island of Sulawesi in 2011 to photograph crested macaque monkeys on a reserve.  After spending time setting up his equipment and gaining the monkey’s trust he managed to get the monkey to press a cable release switch which took a photograph of the monkey.

Wikipedia has since used the monkey selfie on their website claiming that it is a public domain image, however, David Slater says that the copyright should be his.  In the UK, the law states that copyright only exists in material created by humans and as the monkey pressed the camera’s shutter, the image cannot be protected by copyright.  This is a very interesting case as Slater obviously invested considerable time and effort in order to obtain this image.  Furthermore PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) have filed a lawsuit insiting that all proceeds from the sale of the monkey selfie should benefit the monkey,  who they have identified as being six -year-old Naruto.

To read more about this case click here.

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New resource on copyright issues

A copyright evidence Wiki has been set up by CREATE at the University of Glasgow. It brings together hundreds of studies on copyright issues grouped by theme and is being offered as a form of ‘dynamic literature review’.  The developers say it ‘intends to establish a body of evidence that allows better navigation in a contested policy field. Competing claims can be assessed and challenged transparently if the underlying data and methods are revealed’. The resource is available at:


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Looking for Old Images?


National Library of Ireland, 1961

Searching for black & white, vintage or just plain old photographs? Then take a peek at New Old Stock the latest search engine to retrieve vintage images from public archives which are free from known copyright restrictions. All images are available for personal or non-commercial use and some have more generous usage terms.

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Deadline for Submitting Digital Scan Returns

Yes it is that time of year again when we need to collect the details of all the digital scans which have been used in teaching over the last academic year and send them to the Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA).  Please can all CLA scan coordinators send their scan returns to Charlotte Greasley or Alison Ashmore by Wednesday 3rd June 2015.

The details which we need in order to complete the CLA’s spreadsheet are as follows:

  • Course code
  • Number of students on the course 2014/15.
  • ISBN or ISSN of the item digitised
  • Title of the book/journal
  • Year (and volume number if it is a journal article)
  • Author of book or author of article
  • Page numbers from and to
  • Who owns the book or journal e.g. the academic, the university

If you have any questions about what should or should not be included then please contact either Charlotte or Alison.

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Intellectual Property Office launches new online training


Image from Flickr reproduced under CC-BY-2.0 licence by Mike Linksvayer, 2012








The Intellectual Property Office has launched a suite of online training modules on intellectual property including, copyright, trademarks, designs, patents and trademarks.

The modules are an ideal introduction for anyone wishing to learn the basics about intellectual property and the information is delivered in a fun and interesting way using illustrations and facts.

Have a look for yourself at this link:

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New online copyright resource for writers, visual artists, musicians & interactive developers


Copyright User Org1

Copyright User is the latest online resource to be launched focussing on UK copyright law.  It aims to make copyright accessible to creators, media professionals, entrepreneurs, students and the public. The resources have been specifically designed for writers, musicians, visual artists, interactive developers, filmmakers and performers. Copyright User provides information on how to protect works, licence and exploit works and how to legally use other people’s work.

Visit the resource here:

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To Kill a Mockingbird – Copyright dispute resolved

To kill a mockingbird

Image by Lindsay Stanford, 2013. Shared under a CC BY 2.0 licence.

Harper Lee (87) the author of the classic Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, has settled a lawsuit which she filed against her literary agent for allegedly tricking her into assigning over the copyright of her novel.  The copyright of the work had been placed in the safekeeping of Lee’s former literary agent, Eugene Winick, who had represented Lee since the 1960s.  After Winick became ill his affairs were managed by his son-in-law Samuel L. Pinkus.  Lee said she had no recollection of agreeing to relinquish her rights or signing over the copyright in a transfer agreement. The case has now been resolved and the defendant’s lawyer said that Lee’s royalties were never in danger. 

For further advice regarding copyright transfer agreements see the page on Publishing your work.

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New Online Copyright Modules on Learn

A series of new online learning copyright modules have been developed specifically for Loughborough University staff, taught students and PhD students.  The new courses can be found on Learn, at module code LBA130.  They can be started and returned to at any time and completed at your own pace.

The courses aim to develop and build upon your basic knowledge of copyright, whilst allowing you to understand and avoid infringing activities. The courses also look at ways that you can protect your own material from infringement.  

Click here to access the module (you will need to sign into Learn):


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Freddie Murcury, a gorilla and the yellow jacket in copyright row

Freddie Mercury Gorilla

Image: 13 Freddie ‘Radio Go Go’ Gorilla by Mira 66, 2013. Copied under CC licence CC BY-NC-SA 2.0


 A sculpture of a gorilla impersonating Freddie Mercury by wearing a yellow jacket and white trousers is the latest focus of an argument over copyright. The sculpture was exhibited in Norwich as part of an art trail but on Monday 8th July 2013, its removal was ordered by the Freddie Mercury estate who claim that the gorilla breaches copyright law. The sculptor Mr Richardson, who is a huge fan of Queen, claims that he did not copy the outfit exactly but altered it so that it became ‘fan art’.

Fans of the Freddie gorilla have contacted Queen’s guitarist, Brian May, via Twitter. May has responded to say he will “find out” more about this bizarre case.

To read more about this story, please see the BBC’s article at this link:



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“Happy Birthday to you” but only if you’ve paid your licence fee!

Happy Birthday

Image: ‘Birthday Candles’ by ed g2s shared under a CC-BY-SA-3.0-migrated licence

The world famous song “Happy Birthday” is now at the centre of a copyright battle after US based filmmaker, Jennifer Nelson, used the song in a documentary.  Warner/Chappell Music have launched legal action against Nelson after claiming that they own the copyright in the tune and the lyrics.  They have ordered her to pay $1500 for a licence to use the song in her documentary, but Nelson is challenging this order as she claims the copyright expired in 1921.  Nelson is accusing the production company of unnecessarily extracting licence fees for a song which should be in the public domain.

It is reported that Warner/Chappell has already collected at least $2 million annually in licencing fees by charging performances which are sung for profit such as films and TV shows. Under current UK copyright law, if a musical work protected by copyright is sung in a place of public entertainment, including a restaurant which can be hired, then this could be classed as secondary copyright infringement. To read more about this bizzare case please click here.

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