Copyright is complex and the regulations vary around the world. If you are submitting work to the Society, whether on a blog post, Destinations article or webinar, please be mindful of the varying copyright regulations.

  • The Society is based in the UK. As such, please check that your work complies with the UK copyright regulations. These are summarised below.
  • If you are based outside the UK, please also check that your work complies with copyright regulations where you are based.
  • If your study is based in a different country and your work includes pictures, documents resources etc from that country, please also check that your work complies with the copyright regulations of that country.

For example if you are based in Australia but studying a place in the Irish Republic, please check that your work complies with copyright in all three countries. Please see below: Non-UK copyright.

A brief summary of UK copyright law:

There is a useful summary in this document from the National Archives, from which the flowchart below is taken, via Open Government Licence v3.

  • You own the copyright to a work if you wrote it or drew it.
  • You own the copyright to a photograph if you pressed the shutter, even if it was at someone else’s request or on someone else’s camera.
  • If you recorded it, you own the copyright to that recording but the material it contains may be subject to copyright separately.
  • Facts are not copyrightable, but the document which contains the facts probably is.

If you didn’t write/draw/record/photograph it, then you don’t own the copyright and need permission to publish it unless the following times have elapsed:

  • Written and artistic works: 70 years from the death of the author/creator.
  • Photographs: 70 years from the death of the photographer.
  • Sound recordings and broadcasts: 50 years from the date of the work.
  • Films: 70 years from the death of the last surviving author, director, writer or composer.
  • Crown copyright: documents made by the Crown or an officer or servant of the Crown are subject to copyright for 125 years from creation or 50 years from commercial publication. This covers most documents published by the National Archives for example.
  • Parliamentary copyright: documents made under the control of Parliament are copyright for 50 years from creation.
  • Material which was unpublished on or by 1 Aug 1989 and where the creator died before 1969 is copyright until 31 December 2039.

Explicit permission is needed from the copyright holder, unfortunately it isn’t sufficient just to acknowledge their authorship. If in doubt, don’t!

Exceptions are made for private study/non-commercial research, data mining and teaching. This is subject to sufficient acknowledgement and fair dealing. Fair dealing isn’t strictly defined but such use should only involve part of a work (1 chapter or 5% is often quoted but not defined as such) and not interfere with the author’s rights to earn money from their work! These exceptions are for private work only and not permission to publish the copy directly.

If copyright ownership is unknown it may be possible for the work to be registered as an orphan work. There should be evidence of a diligent search for the copyright holder and a fee is payable.

Copywrite Statement

Non-UK copyright:

The Berne Convention sets minimum standards for copyright, however most countries have more stringent regulations. Unfortunately these vary with both the country and nature of the work. Please check.

References: for info about duration of copyright in the UK. for info about exceptions to copyright in the UK including fair dealing. for details on orphan works. for the Berne Convention.

With grateful thanks to Gay Evans for helpful comments. 

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