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All copyright guidance for staff and students

Who owns the rights in my own work?

As a student, you own the copyright in the work you produce for your course. No-one can share or publish your work without your permission – except when we share it for the purposes of examination, including showing it to external examiners.

When you sign up as a student, you accept the General Academic Regulations of the University. Section 8 of the General Academic Regulations talks about copyright.

This allows us to keep a copy of your dissertation or final project in the Library after you have finished your course.

If your dissertation is selected to be kept in the Library, it will normally be for a limited period of time, as an example of how to write a good piece of work.

We normally allow other library users to copy from dissertations in the same way as published material – giving you proper acknowledgment. If you do not want anyone to copy any part of your dissertation once it is in the Library, you must write to the Director of Library and Learning Services to say so.

Which licences does Birmingham Newman have?


If we subscribe to or own a digital version of an item, there is normally a licence that says what you can do with it.

Which licence you look at depends on what you are using. For:

  • a specific journal, look at the licence agreement with the journal publisher.

  • a journal database – such as Education Research Complete or Sport Discus – look at the license agreement with the database provider.

  • an e-book, look at the license with the platform host or publisher.

Ask your Academic Service Librarian if you have any queries on licensing.

Most published material that staff hand out to your class or include on Moodle, is made under the terms of the Copyright Licensing Agency’s Higher Education Licence for UUK/GuildHE members. This mainly covers photocopying or scanning of parts of books and journals.

Always read what it says on the cover sheet of any articles or book chapters you read on Moodle. Sometimes articles or book chapters have specific permissions that might be different from usual, so you need to check each time.

Don’t give copies of scanned articles or chapters to other people who aren’t on your course, and never let anyone else use your login details.

We subscribe to the Newspaper Licensing Agency’s Basic Licence (PDF). This allows you to copy occasional newspaper articles. You can’t use this licence to systematically copy a regular column or keep a collection of newspaper clippings.

We have a license from the Educational Resources Agency (ERA) that lets teaching staff record broadcasts from free-to-air broadcasters for use in teaching, including adding them to Moodle.

The Box of Broadcasts service also operates under the terms of this licence.

When you use Box of Broadcasts or a recording made under this licence, you can only use it for educational and non-commercial purposes.

The ERA provides FAQ pages and a licence terms summary on its website.

What is a Creative Commons licence?

  • Creative Commons licences are another type of licence. They are often used by individuals as well as bigger organisations.

  • You don’t pay to use items under the terms of a Creative Commons licence.

  • Creative Commons licences tend to be more generous than many other licences, but there are different versions which give you different levels of permission.

  • Check which licence the rights-owner has chosen to use before you use the item.

  • The licence will give you explicit permissions for certain actions – such as copying, re-using or sharing – but you will always need to give credit to the rights owner.

More information

For more information about copyright at Birmingham Newman, please contact:

Chris Porter, Director of Library and Learning Services.

For more information about copyright in the UK, here are some helpful resources:


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