Keeping your thesis legal

Pile of documents

By Alexandre Duret-Lutz, 2006. Reproduced under CC Licence (CC BY-SA 2.0).

If you are a PhD student and would like to make sure your thesis is kept on the right side of copyright law, then take a look at the guide below produced by the University of Leicester.  Packed full of useful information on how to reuse third party copyright material and advice on different types of materials such as figures, maps or photographs.

Also remember that the Library runs courses on Copyright and your Thesis specifically for PhD students. The next course will be on Tuesday 21st June 2016.  More information can be found here.

Keeping your thesis legal is available at:


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Student’s Guide to Copyright

Are you a student and struggling with copyright? Or simply confused with the changes to copyright law?  Then check out this new guide produced by Jisc which will help you to understand how to protect your own work whilst reusing other people’s work legally.  The guide not only explains the relevance of copyright during your studies but also how this knowledge can be applied in the workplace.

If you are simply looking for images, sound or video to re-use without fear of copyright infringement, then look for material licensed with a Creative Commons (CC) Licence.  One of the best places to start your search is on the Creative Commons Search webpage at this link. There are six different levels of CC licence.  To find out what you can do with the image/sound/video that you have chosen then click on ‘Some Rights Reserved’ as shown below in the screen shot (click image to make screen shot larger). This will take you to the licence page for that particular image etc and will explain how it can be reused.

Adapted ‘Victoria Sponge Cake’ by Kelly Hunter 2013, Reproduced under CC Licence (CC BY 2.0).








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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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