Copyright ownership

Who owns copyright?

Copyright is generally owned by the creator/author of the material. There is no requirement to register copyright - it comes into existence automatically once an idea is expressed in a material form (i.e. written down or stored in electronic form).

Can copyright be transferred or sold?

Copyright material can be traded to others. It can be completely traded (for example transferring your complete copyright ownership in an article to a journal publisher), or partially traded (for example, giving a journal publisher a non exclusive right to publish your article on their website).

What if more than one person has worked on the material?

If two or more people make inseparable contributions to the creation of copyright material then they will both own the material. Each owner must give permission when dealing with the copyright material that is jointly owned.

What about material created as an employee of the University?

Copyright created by a staff member in their employment, scholarship or research with the University (or for which the University has contributed other University-owned intellectual property or has made a specific contribution of funding, resource, facilities, apparatus or supervision) will be owned by the University.

However the University will grant a non-exclusive, royalty-free licence to reproduce, publish, perform, broadcast, disseminate and otherwise use for teaching and research purposes at the University for any copyright material created by a staff member as detailed above (if the material does not have any potential for commercial exploitation).

For those participating in research projects at the University's request (e.g. PhD students working under University funds or in collaboration with a staff member and/or other postgraduate research student) copyright will be owned by the University (except for copyright in a student's thesis where the student retains copyright).

For more detailed information regarding IP ownership refer to the Intellectual Property Statute 8.3.

See Copyright for researchers, which provides more information that may be useful to researchers.