At the heart of most college procedures are sturdy policies. They’re the best way to let staff – who may be new, part time, temporary or working across several sites – know how things are done and what they can expect at your institution.  

In their travels collecting the data used to calculate CLA’s royalty payments, one of our Field Team came across a great Copyright Policy. We checked, and we’re pleased to say that New College Durham are happy for us to share it with you! 

Here it is, and as ever with policies, subject to change.

There are six key points that we really liked about this policy, that you may like to consider when writing your own.

It makes clear where responsibility sits. In section 3 it is made clear that the college needs to provide staff with the support they need to comply and uphold sound copyright procedure. Staff themselves need to familiarise themselves with the material, and act accordingly, but the corporation takes its share of the responsibility.

The copyright policy is part of the college fabric. Copyright doesn’t work in a vacuum. It links to your resource and printing budget, your use of the VLE and social media, and college security, and not only what you use, but what you produce (see next point also). New College Durham’s policy makes these links explicit by weaving policies together.

Lecturer’s copyright is explicitly covered. Generally speaking, the rights over a work produced by an employee for an employer, lie with the employer. This policy spells that out clearly, and helps staff know where they stand when producing content.

A clear point of contact. Copyright often works on a case-by-case basis and is fact specific. What is it you want to use, in what context, for what purpose, and how much of it? It’s really important that staff know who they can talk to if they have any questions, and a point of contact is referenced regularly throughout this policy.

A list of licences. We’re often asked why there’s so many copyright licences available, and it’s to reflect the different rightsholders represented. So it’s helpful that this policy lists clearly which licences are held by the college, and what each one covers.

Record-keeping. The policy encourages lecturers to keep a record of any permissions or licences they obtain. This is a handy trail, so that the college is protected long term and in case of a query later.