The CopyCats say... Copyright is:
legislation intended to protect the rights of creators of certain kinds of material
opportunity for them to benefit from their work in any way they wish, for a certain amount of time.
automatic, there is no requirement to register works
property that can be bought and sold -
or made freely available to all, e.g. via Creative Commons licences
Copyright subsists in most types of creative work,
e.g. Literature, drama, music, artistic works, textbooks, reports, plans, maps, sound recordings, films, photographs, broadcasts, databases, multimedia productions, websites, computer programs, official publications,
and also the typographical layouts of published material.
Generally speaking, in EU countries, copyright lasts until 70 years after the end of the year of the death of (all) the creators of the material. If the author is unknown, then 70 years from publication date.
Official publications cover a wide range of materials created by international, national, federal or regional governmental bodies.
UK Parliamentary Papers
The House of Commons, House of Lords and Scottish Parliament encourage you to use materials made avaialble by them, in which copyright or database right subsists.
This does not cover:
The Open Parliament Licence applies to material made available in hard copy or electronically. It also applies to material owned by the Houses of Parliament and published before 1 August 1989 in which Crown copyright subsists.
For the UK Parliament see the Open Parliament Licence information pages for more details.
For the Scottish Parliament see their Policy on use of SPCB Copyright Material for more details.
Crown copyright covers material created by civil servants, ministers and government departments and agencies. This includes legislation, government codes of practice, Ordnance Survey mapping, government reports, official press releases, government forms and many public records.
Crown copyright lasts for 50 years from the end of the year in which it was first commercially published. However if it was not published within 75 years from the year of creation, the copyright period will be 125 years.
See the National Archives Crown Copyright pages for more detailed information.
Non-UK Oficial Publications
Copyright is normally owned by the creators of the material unless they have chosen to transfer it to someone else, e.g. a publisher or a recording company. It can be very complicated to work out who owns all the copyrights in multimedia works, but here are some broad guidelines as to who might be involved:
Do I own the copyright in things I have created while studying or working at Edinburgh Napier University?
If you are a student:
you normally own the copyright in your own work. The only exceptions might be if the work was created for an external funder, or paid for by the university, or if you have signed an agreement that allows the university to use it.
If you are a member of staff or a researcher:
Works created as part of your job may well be owned by your employer. However, publication in an academic journal may require you to transfer copyright to the journal publisher, and Edinburgh Napier University may agree to this. If in doubt, check with the university's Research and Innovation Office.
If you would like to know more about the background to copyright, please consult up-to-date books in the library, or official websites on copyright. The following are useful places to check.
Check LibrarySearch for more books on copyright, and Westlaw for current copyright legislation.