5.4 Intellectual property (IP) and copyright
When considering how you handle information and data, you also need to think about intellectual property and copyright. It is a broad topic, but it is important to be aware of your responsibilities and understand the expectations of your organisation.
Intellectual property normally covers:
- the names of your products or brands
- your inventions
- the design or look of your products
- things you write, make or produce.
Copyright normally covers:
- literary, dramatic musical and artistic work
- software, web content, and databases
- sound and music recordings
- film, television and online broadcasting
- published editions.
Adapted from Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988.
IP and copyright need to be considered from two angles.
- Use and sharing of your organisation’s information, products, services and content – your organisation owns the IP and copyright. Therefore, you need to be aware of what you can and cannot share in the public domain. For example, it may be inadvisable to share details about a commercially sensitive innovation project or an extract from a course that you authored – you may not own the rights to do this.
- Use of others’ materials – when using any ‘third party’ content – when using content that is not owned by you or your organisation, you need to check the conditions of use. Some organisations such as NASA provide these clearly on their website, but others are more complicated, as often the ‘author’ is not the ‘owner’. Common issues arise from linking to articles on the web. Although they may be freely available to access, many organisations charge for a concept called ‘deeplinking’ – which is sending users to a specific page on a website, rather than the homepage. One of the reasons for this is it can lead to a loss of income for the site owner.
Activity 17 Explore intellectual property and copyright further
A basic rule for IP and copyright is that, if you are unsure, always seek advice and permission. Check what guidance and requirements your own organisation has in place. For example, you may have a dedicated page such as the one below from the University of Wales Trinity Saint David.
If this is an area you are interested in, you may wish to look at these resources.