Copyright is a form of intellectual property. It is automatically protected by legal rights granted to the producers of original literary, artistic or dramatic works, which entitle them to control the reproduction of their work. In the UK, the law also provides for “moral” rights, such as the right to be identified as the creator of the work and not to have the work distorted or mutilated by another.

There are various licensing schemes in place to cover different types of copyrighted material and schools need to be familiar with these, as well as with who owns copyright in intellectual property that is generated in schools.

Since April 2015, licences from a number of copyright management organisations have been provided by the DfE for all primary and secondary state-funded schools in England and advice is available on the purchase of additional licences.

Schools not covered by the DfE licence, including independent fee-paying schools, sixth-form colleges and maintained schools and academies providing only for 16 to19-year-olds, are required to take out their own licences.

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