Ownership of copyright

Copyright arises automatically, so the person that creates a work is normally the copyright owner. Joint ownership can arise when there is more than one author. 

Copyright ownership can be transferred, bought and sold. For example, publishing contracts can include a term that transfers copyright from the author to the publisher. 

For works created in the University the following applies:

Employer-employee relationship

Copyright in material that an employee produces during the course of their employment is normally owned by the employer, unless there is an agreement otherwise.

Universities customarily waive copyright in certain kinds of publications written by staff. Accordingly, The University of Nottingham has Database Rights and Associated Issues guidance. This distinguishes between:

  • Research publications and textbooks where the author retains copyright
  • Course materials where the University asserts its ownership of copyright

Works created by students in the course of their studies

Ownership normally rests with the student. An exception might arise where a pre-existing agreement allocates copyright to another party (for example, an external company sponsoring a research project).

The University provides the following guidance: Intellectual Property Rights for Students and Graduates


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More advice:

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