What Is Copyright and Who Owns It? | UK Data Service

Blog Post by UK Data Service: What Is Copyright and Who Owns It? 

Have you ever wondered if your Excel spreadsheets can be copyrighted? In the most recent blog post, UK Data Service talks about what we should know about copyright and data ownership.

Copyright is an intellectual property right, assigned automatically to the creator, that prevents unauthorised copying and publishing of an original work. Copyright applies to research data and plays a role when creating, sharing and reusing data. The categorisation of copyright as a ‘property’ demonstrates that copyright is something which belongs to someone, cannot be taken away without consent and cannot be abused without the possibility of legal action. Under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988 copyright applies to:

  • original literary, dramatic, musical or artistic works
  • sound recordings, films, broadcasts or cable programmes
  • the typographical arrangement of publications

Most research outputs such as spreadsheets, publications, reports and computer programs fall under literary work and are therefore protected by copyright. Facts, however, cannot be copyrighted.

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