Copyright ownership

There's no legal requirement to register copyright in the UK in order to obtain it.

All work is protected by copyright on creation, regardless of whether or not it is published. This includes work created by our students and staff. For further information please see our overview of copyright legislation.

It's good practice to include a copyright statement within your work. You should include:

  • The copyright symbol ©
  • Your name (or 'University of Strathclyde'), and
  • the year you created the work.


Copyright ownership for undergradute and postgraduate taught students

The University recognises that undergradute and postgraduate taught students own the copyright to any work they create during their course of study.

Arrangements are different for postgraduate research students.


Copyright ownership for postgraduate research students

When you register, we'll ask you to assign your commercially exploitable Intellectual Property (IP) rights to the University.

The University will then own these IP rights arising from your research during your course of study. Examples include patentable IP, protectable design rights and copyright in computer software.

We'll share with you any money made from your postgraduate research

Once you have assigned your IP rights to the University, you'll receive a proportion of any revenue that's generated from your research.

See the Research Code of Practice (under 'Research policies and guidelines') for more information on assigning IP (section 10) and the Royalty Sharing arrangements.

If you can't assign IP rights to us

You must notify your academic supervisor immediately if a funding agreement prevents you from assigning your IP rights to the University.

Copyright in your thesis

You will continue to own the copyright in your thesis, but not to any third party content you have included e.g. extracts from books, journals, images or maps.

If you wish to publish your thesis (after examination) you will need to seek permission from the copyright owner to include any third party content you have included unless there is a clear statement on the work saying it can be reused or you can justify including it under a copyright exception. This includes depositing it in the University digital institutional repository, as this is publicly accessible.

If the publication of your thesis may prejudice a patent application or otherwise disclose information the University considers confidential, you may be required to add a moratorium to your thesis for a limited time to protect the information. This means it will not normally be accessible to staff, students or the public.

Contact us if you'd like to know more or consult our Copyright & Your Thesis Libguide.

Reuse by the University of your thesis/other copyright work

Postgraduate research students must grant the University a perpetual and royalty-free licence to use such material for non-commercial teaching, research and academic purposes.

Copyright to your digital thesis

Once your thesis has been added to the digital institutional repository

You will continue to own the copyright to your thesis, provided you haven’t assigned it elsewhere. Please be aware, you allow open access to your thesis when you deposit it in Strathprints (the University’s digital institutional repository) and EThOS.

Restricting access to your thesis

It is possible to restrict access to both the digital and print copies of your thesis by placing a moratorium on them.

See our submission guidelines for more information, and discuss your options with your supervisor before you submit your thesis.

Using Google Maps/Google Earth data in your thesis

You can inlude Google Maps/Google Earth data in your thesis provided you include an acknowledgment to Google.

Check Google's attribution guidelines for more information.

Using Digimap data in your thesis

The University's Digimap licence permits you to use Digimap data in your thesis, however you must include an acknowledgement.

The acknowledgement varies dependent upon the type of data you have used. Check Digimap's guidance for more information.


Copyright to scholarly works

As with all other students, you will normally retain your copyright in all books, articles, theses and papers you produce while you're a student. There may be exceptions to this, such as if the University commissioned you to produce a piece of work.

Questions and concerns

Speak with your academic supervisor if you have any questions or concerns about assigning your IP rights to the University.


Copyright ownership for staff

Copyright in teaching materials

Unless there is an agreement to state otherwise, the University will own the copyright to works created by staff in the course of their employment.

Although this is the legal position, the University may waive its right to ownership of copyright in books, journals and publications created by staff, in line with academic practice.

For more information about this, contact Research and Knowledge Exchange Services.

Copyright in publications you create

You will own copyright in publications you create, although you'll normally be asked to assign your copyright as part of the agreement with the publisher. Once you have done this, the publisher will own the copyright to your work. You will normally continue to retain 'moral rights' and be recognised as the author.

Copyright in work created jointly with a colleague

If you create work with a colleague/colleagues, you will both own the copyright within the work you created. One party can't reuse the work without consent of the other, unless you have a formal agreement stating otherwise.


Seeking permission to reuse from a copyright owner

You'll require permission to reuse work if the relevant licences held by the University and/or the copyright exceptions do not allow you to use the work in the way you wish.

Obtaining copyright persmission can be a lengthy process, and rights owners may charge a fee for reuse of their material. Please contact us if you need help or advice.


Copyright and recorded lectures

The University's Video Services team arranges to record lectures to be made available to students electronically.

The copyright in the recording will belong to the University. It is important you complete an appropriate Video Recording Form when recording a lecture.  Staff creating Pre-Recorded Learning Productions where the provision of the recording of teaching to students is the primary means of delivery of this instruction are required to sign the new Pre Recorded Audio & Video Consent Form.  Staff who are making live recordings or recordings for purposes which fall outside of Pre-Recorded Learning Productions should use the Master Video Recording Form. Signed forms should be retained by the Department. 

Contact us if you have any questions regarding the appropriate form to use. 

Ownership of copyright in your recording

If you create all of the content for the lecture recording, and don't use any third party material, then you don't require copyright permission.

Third-party materials in recorded lectures

If you include third party material within your lecture recording, it's likely you will need to obtain permission from the copyright owner.

It is important to clearly state how you wish to use the material when seeking permission.

The 'illustration for instruction' copyright exception may be applied in limited cases.

Please contact us for guidance before preparing your recording.

Guest speakers in recorded lectures

The University needs to obtain consent from guest speakers/performers to record, copy and make the recording available to students.

It is important to obtain the correct level of consent. A Video Recording Form can be used to obtain consent from guest speakers/performers.  Please contact us for advice.

Audience members in recorded lectures

If an audience is included and they are the focus of the recording:

  • It is good practice to advise attendees in advance when the recording will take place, the purpose of the recording and to whom it will be made available.
  • You should obtain consent from each member of the audience.
  • You should provide an area within the lecture theatre where images will not be recorded, for individuals who do not wish to be captured on camera.

Visit Jisc Legal for more information about the legal implications of recording lectures.


Posting your published research articles on academic sharing websites

Academic social networking sites, copyright law and your contract terms

As part of the publishing process the author normally assigns their copyright to the publisher. This means the publisher will own the copyright and can control reuse of the article.

Publishers don't normally permit articles to be published on a commercial server.

If you have assigned your copyright to a publisher and signed a contract (Copyright Transfer Agreement), then you are legally bound to comply with the contract terms and statue law on copyright. You should check the terms of the contract you entered into with the publisher to determine if this type of reuse is permitted.

You may find it useful to check the Sherpa/Romeo site for publisher policies.

The difference between the institutional repository and academic sharing sites

Publishers have provided non-commercial exceptions to their Copyright Transfer Agreements to allow manuscripts to be made available via not-for-profit servers only.

Not-for-profit servers are typically institutional repositories.

Commercial sites (such as ResearchGate or are not covered by the exceptions. Many publishers explicitly forbid using these commercial sites as a means of publishing. Additionally, posting to these sites does not meet research funder Open Access compliance requirements.

Sharing your article if you haven't assigned copyright to a publisher

Sharing your article on an academic social networking is lawful if you retained the copyright.

Always check a website's terms and conditions for information on reuse, sharing and copyright.