Skip to main content

The Sainsbury Library: Key Business Resources: Copyright

Subjects: Business, Management

Frequently Asked Questions

The Bodleian Libraries have created a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) with sections that are applicable to all University members, University staff, students and special materials. The FAQs can be accessed here.

Copyright for Teaching

The University pays for a range of licences to allow copying and scanning for teaching purposes without infringement of copyright. For full details please click here

Copyright for Personal Research

Click here for information about how much you can copy for personal research.


What is copyright?

Copyright provides legal protection to the physical form of ideas for writers, artists, musicians, photographers, publishers and other creators. It is designed to protect how an author or creator’s work is used and ensure that they are rewarded fairly.

The UK Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 and subsequent amendments under the Copyright and related Rights Regulations 2003 are the two pieces of legislation that provide copyright protection. Copyright exists in the following:


  • original literary, dramatic, musical works. This includes books, articles or web pages


  • artist works including drawings, photographs and illustrations


  • databases and computer programmes


  • sound recordings, films, videos, broadcasts 


  • typographical arrangements of published editions.


Who owns copyright?

Copyright is normally owned by the creator of a work but ownership of copyright may be transferred to a publisher or employer for example.

How long does copyright last?

The general guidelines on how long copyright lasts are:

  • Original literary, dramatic, musical or artistic works:  life of author, plus 70 years.
  • Sound recordings or broadcasts: from first year in which it was made, published or made public. plus 50 years.
  • Films: life of principal director, composer and screenwriter, plus 70 years.
  • Typographical arrangement of published editions: 25 years
  • Computer generated material: 50 years.

Acts restricted by copyright

The UK Designs and Patents Act states that the copyright owner has exclusive rights to do the following with their work:


  • copy the work


  • issue copies of the work to the public


  • rent or lend the work to the public 


  • perform, show or play the work to the public 


  • make an adaptation of the work


It is an infringement for anyone other than the copyright owner to carry out these acts without permission from the copyright owner.

Further general information can be found at the UK Copyright Service website at:


For further help


+44(0)1865 288 880