Copyright advice

Please note that the following notes are for guidance only and do not constitute legal advice.

Copyright, reprography and publication

The majority of the Centre's holdings are covered by British copyright law. Photocopying of original documents often has to be restricted for copyright and/or conservation reasons. For fragile material, photography is a possible alternative. Copy-prints from archive photographs can also be provided for illustrative use in publications, details of charges are available [1]. Written permission to publish material from any collection in the Centre should be obtained from the copyright owner. The Archivist may be able to help researchers identify current copyright holders.

You may find the flowchart on page 13 of the advice given at useful for determining whether an item is in copyright or not.

Photocopying material from the Archive Centre's unpublished papers

You will be asked to sign a copyright declaration before starting work in the Archive Centre. This is because the law restricts what may be copied or quoted in print so long as a literary or artistic work is in copyright. However, to aid scholarly research, we may photocopy unpublished material, provided the following criteria are satisfied: the copyright owner has not expressly forbidden it (thus anything unpublished by T.S. Eliot may not be copied); you have not already received a copy; we make only one copy for which you pay all costs; the material will withstand the process physically; staff resources allow. Please see the scale of charges for more information about obtaining copies of documents held in the Archive Centre.

Quoting from material from the Archive Centre's unpublished papers

Changes to the law in 1989 abolished perpetual copyright in unpublished papers. For the bulk of the material we hold the important date is 2039, when the copyright will expire in manuscripts created before 1989, whose author was dead before that date and which remained unpublished during his/her lifetime. In the meantime, you should seek the permission of the copyright owner in a literary work, be it the draft of a novel, a letter or hasty note, before quoting from it in print. A fee may be charged for its use. Ownership of copyright is not the same as physical ownership of the paper on which the words themselves are written. We own the Roger Fry Papers for instance, but not the copyright in Fry's own writings, nor in the thousands of letters he received during his lifetime preserved among his papers. Copyright in all these items rests with the writer of the document or his/her heirs, whatever the current location of the original.

The Archivist may be able to help in the identification of copyright owners. First please consult the database maintained by WATCH (Writers and their copyright owners), The Library, The University of Reading, P.O. Box 223, Whiteknights, Reading RG6 2AE.

Application forms for permission to quote in cases where King's College is the copyright owner (papers of J.M. Keynes, E.M. Forster, Joan Robinson, G. Lowes Dickinson for example) are available from the Archivist.

The Society of Authors, 84 Drayton Gardens, London SW10 9SB, can advise on clearing copyright permission in published writing.

Reproducing material from the Archive Centre's unpublished papers

We hold photographs from the 1870s onwards. The duration of copyright, which generally rests with the photographer or his/her heirs, depends on when the photograph was taken: before 1957, whether published or unpublished, it lasts for 70 years from the date of the photograph: between 1957-89, and published before 1989, 70 years from the year of publication; between 1957-89, and unpublished before 1989, expires 2039. Again you should clear copyright with the owner before reproducing a photograph in print.

Please note that, in addition, we usually charge a reproduction fee for the use of any of our photographs, and indeed of photographs of manuscripts as illustrations, regardless of whether or not we own the copyright in them. A scale of fees is available from the Archivist.

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