Core Training – Copyright – Post One

This post kicks off our special series of three posts related to copyright and an ARA Core Training day.

Hello, my name is Hayley and I am a Libraries and Archives Trainee for Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council. My training has been made possible by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Skills for the Future programme.

Hayley 1

The traineeship encourages my professional development and allows for me to attend a number of courses throughout my placement year. With this in mind, I took the opportunity to attend an ARA Core Training course on copyright.

The ARA Event Summary reads:

‘Do you find copyright confusing? Are you sure how the recent change in legislation affects your work? Want to find out more about copyright?’

After answering the questions with a YES, NO, YES, I decided that this course was for me. Copyright is often described as a bit of a minefield and I was eager to find out more.
ARA Core Training: Copyright

ARA Northern Region

29th April 2015

Location: Showroom Workstation, Sheffield

As this one day course took place in Sheffield, I was lucky enough to take the train from Stockport to Sheffield and witness the stunning views of the Peak District. It was a warm and sunny day, as you can see from my photograph of Sheffield Town Hall and the Peace Gardens.

Hayley 2

The course was held in a work space at Showroom Workstation, which is a building that also contains an independent cinema and a business centre for creative and digital industries. Over twenty professionals, from a range of organisations, attended the course.

Hayley 3

Course Programme


The morning began with a warm welcome from the course leaders and allowed for time to meet with the other attendees. As a trainee, I noticed that there were a number of well-established professionals in attendance, many of whom were there to refresh their knowledge and remain up to date with copyright changes.

Talk 1

Copyright in the UK – Tim Padfield

Our first talk was delivered by Tim Padfield, who is the author of ‘Copyright for Archivists and Record Managers’. He is currently an author and copyright consultant, but has previously worked at the The National Archives.

It is very difficult to provide a summary of copyright, as it is such a large subject area. However, Tim set about explaining the general points and meaning of copyright.

Please note: I am only going to discuss some of the things that I found to be interesting, as it is impossible to summarise such a wonderfully detailed talk.

Tim explained how copyright is one of the five main groups of Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs).

  1. Copyright
  2. Patents
  3. Trade marks
  4. Designs
  5. Confidence

He discussed how work needed to be in a material form, in order to have copyright. Literary works, which are composed with words and/or symbols, are an example of work in a material form that are most commonly found in archives. The author/copyright holder can then use their copyright to restrict how others go on to use the material, which can restrict copying, publication, performance etc.

There are a number of permissions and exceptions to copyright, but it is important to remember that the safest way of using any material is to seek permission or a licence and to always acknowledge the author.

Fair dealing is an exception to copyright infringements, for uses including:

  • Private study
  • Non-commercial research
  • Education

–        Quotation from a published work

Even with fair dealing, it is important to acknowledge the author.

To work out the duration of copyright, Tim provided the group with a useful handout. The flowcharts that were provided (see The National Archives link at the bottom of the page) make it easier to look at a piece of work and to determine the next step.

Hayley 4

Talk 2

Case Study: The National Railway Museum’s First World War Centenary Archives – Alison Kay, Associate Archivist at The National Railway Museum

After lunch, we received a talk by Alison Kay, the Associate Archivist at The National Railway Museum in York. The talk aimed to demonstrate the application of copyright in her workplace.

Alison and her team have been working on a new exhibition commemorating the centenary of the First World War. Their focus has been on ambulance trains, which were used throughout France and Belgium to transport wounded or sick soldiers to hospital.

Whilst researching for this exhibition, Alison came across some copyright issues. The main issues involved ‘orphan works’, where the rights owner is unknown or cannot be located. Alison and her team performed diligent searches to establish the rights owner and gained permission to use the material in many cases.

However, even the most diligent of searches can often lead to nowhere. Tim Padfield had previously discussed orphan works and what to do when a diligent search has no results. There were two options:

  1. The EU scheme permits libraries, archives, museums and educational establishments to make orphan works available online non-commercially. This is an exception and not a licence. The diligent search must be registered with the Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market (OHIM).
  2. The UK scheme is a licence that permits anyone to use an orphan work commercially or non-commercially within the UK. The licence is obtained from the International Property Office (IPO) in return for a fee. The diligent search must also be registered with the IPO.


The rest of the afternoon was spent participating in two interactive workshops, where we were able to discuss and apply our knowledge in groups.

Workshop 1:

Prior to the course, attendees had been asked to provide copyright queries and questions to the organisers. An envelope was given to each table and the group worked through the various questions to provide solutions.

Workshop 2:

This was a similar workshop, which encouraged discussion and solutions to set copyright questions. However, for this workshop, the groups would swap around for each scenario and enabled further discussion with the other attendees.

Overall Thoughts

This course has helped me to accept that copyright is a minefield and that even seasoned professionals have to consult others. Through informal discussions and exchanging ideas with the other attendees, I now have a more confident approach to copyright and the knowledge of where/who to consult. This information will prove to be vital over my training year and I aim to remain updated with any copyright developments.


Helpful Resources

  • Tim Padfield, Copyright for Archivists and Records Managers
  • The National Archives Copyright Guidance


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