Mona Lisa / Copyright image

Copyright gives legal protection to the creators of certain kinds of work so that they can control the way they may be exploited. Copyright law in the UK is governed by the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 as amended.

A wide range of data and information can be protected by Copyright in a number of different formats such as:

  • Literature
  • Computer programmes
  • Dramatic works (plays, filmscripts)
  • Musical works (performances, songs)
  • Artistic works (graphics, sculptures, photographs, paintings)
  • Films, including videos
  • Broadcasts
  • Etc

As an educational establishment, the Trust is licensed with a number of copyright management organisations, giving blanket permission to use a limited number of copyright protected works (exclusions apply):

  • Copyright Licensing Agency (permission to use text and images from books, magazines and journals – exclusions apply)
  • Schools Printed Music License (permission to copy sheet music and adapt musical works so it can be performed by any instrumental or vocal)
  • Newspaper Licensing Agency (gives schools authorisation to copy UK national and regional newspapers, worldwide and selected business titles as well as online and digital versions of the same.
  • Educations Recording Agency (permits the recording and use of copies of broadcast (television and radio) material in schools.
  • Filmbank (permits the public screening of top Hollywood, Bollywood and other films in schools for extracurricular activity)
  • Motion Picture Licensing Company (this license allows schools to show films and television programmes from certain film and television producers and distributors)

With such a wide variety of material being used in many different ways, it is easy to breach copyright laws. With this in mind it is important that academies have permission to use, copy or adapt the resources that staff are using. Individuals should not assume permissions are granted through the above licenses as exclusions do apply!

Copyright Images

Many people assume that if content is online it is in the ‘public domain’ and that it’s not copyright protected. This is a myth.

Content that is published online is still protected by copyright law. If you’ve ever downloaded images from the net and republished them, used them in posters or newsletters without permission, you may have been breaking the law!

The Trust takes its legal obligations very seriously and for very good reason. The consequences of breaching copyright law can be very damaging financially and reputationally.

Companies are charged with regularly searching the web and other publications for the illegal use of copyright images. Infringement of copyright legislation can result in large scale fines and is a criminal offence.

With this in mind, you should:

  • Use photographs that have been taken in school wherever possible
  • Ensure that any images downloaded from the web and used in publications are copyright free. This includes images used in displays, on social media, on websites and on external publications such as newsletters and letters to parents.

The Trust has compiled a list of sites containing copyright free images that can be used for educational purposes:

  • Creative Commons
  • Everystockphoto
  • Flickr
  • ImageAfter
  • MorgueFile
  • OpenClipArt
  • PicFindr
  • Stock.xchng
  • University of Exeter Digital Collections
  • VADS
  • Veezzle
  • Xpert
  • Wikimedia Commons Images

Further guidance and a sense checker is available on the following website: