Avoiding copyright risk
Avoiding copyright risk is important, whether you’re part of a commercial company, a professional association, an academic institution, a non-governmental organization or a charity.

It’s no longer only of interest to publishers. If you own articles, reports, website content, images, video etc, or if you’re redistributing content created by others, you’re likely to be faced with copyright concerns.

What’s permitted, what’s restricted?
But if you’re working with digital content it can be difficult to know what’s permitted, and whether you are pushing the boundaries too far.

Can you distribute within your organisation, or across the world? Can you use it in print, distribute to internal staff, or place it on your website? If you need permission, how can you frame your request so you don’t pay for broad rights you’ll never fully use?

Avoid the pitfalls
It’s perfectly possible to work with high-quality content whilst at the same time reducing copyright risk, but you do need to be aware of the pitfalls to avoid.

For example, check carefully if you’re thinking of using content found online: was it really uploaded by the legitimate rights holder? It isn’t always easy to tell.

Your story so far
Do you know….
• What content does your organisation already hold? Do you own the copyright, or does some of it come from external sources?
• In your organisation, who currently decides how you acquire and use content? What records do they keep?
• If you had clear copyright guidance available, how would this change the way you and your colleagues manage content and copyright questions?

Some of the answers might surprise you. We frequently find that copyright practice has developed inconsistently across an organisation, with big differences in the way decisions are made by different teams.

How we can help
We can help you to manage copyright issues and digital licensing, especially where licence terms need to be both effective and practical.

Know what you own – The first step is to carry out a Copyright Audit. We will assess existing licences, spot any gaps in your current working practices and identify what needs to happen next.

Next steps – Depending on your needs, we can:
• Provide guidelines and template documents tailored to your specific circumstances
• Streamline the clearance process, if additional rights are needed.
• Help you roll out these new measures to your colleagues across the wider organisation.
• Provide a follow-up support service, so there’s always someone you can ask when new scenarios arise.

The benefits of this approach
Having templates and guidance in place means you can use quality content as part of your core activities, while reducing copyright risk.


Read Clare’s blog postAvoiding copyright risk: why it matters and what to look out for’ on Jinfo, a service for information professionals.