Copyright is rarely considered until the very end or during a research project, but there are a few important issues that you must consider at the outset:
Research often involves an element of copying from and/or building upon pre-existing work or information such as text, data, images, diagrams, music, performances, designs, inventions. Although UK copyright Law has certain copyright 'fair dealing' exceptions in place to remove obstacles and allow research and innovation to develop freely, these exceptions have certain limitations and requirements.
The exceptions most relevant to research are contained in the General Exceptions of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 and amendments:
The legal exceptions will not apply to re-using copyright infringing/pirated content. Therefore, always ensure you are copying from a genuinely provided version of the copyright protected content.
In instances where the exceptions don't apply or the limits and requirements have not been met, you will be required to obtain copyright permission from the copyright owner unless you can find genuinely copyright free or licensed content that you can include freely i.e. it has been made available or licensed by or with the authority of the copyright owner e.g. Creative Commons Licensing. See What can I copy? for further information and advice on licensing and how to obtain copyright permission.
If the content includes personal data, you will also require permission from the individual or need to anonymise the information.
It is advisable to maintain a 'Rights Management Database' to track your permissions requests and document your research documents, permissions, consent forms, also permissions you may have granted others to use your work. This can be a simple spreadsheet.
Kate Vasili, University Copyright Officer, at: email@example.com
Charles Annan, Policy,Compliance & Legal Support Officer, at: firstname.lastname@example.org