Copyright laws have still not fully accommodated the impact of online publishing and there are national and international debates about how the laws should be adapted.

See also the Hot Topics: Licensing and Orphan Works sections

Except for links to ALPSP resources on this website, the links below are to external websites and will open a new window in the browser.

ALPSP Publications (Inc. guidelines - reports - statements - research & articles)

ALPSP advice notes on copyright and other legal issues

ALPSP has 15 Advice notes on copyright and other legal issues, ranging from piracy, permissions fair dealig and legal deposit. Note that these are only available to ALPSP members.

ALPSP summary of changes to UK copyright system 2012

A summary from ALPSP of the Hargreaves review and ongoing consultation with items of particular concern to ALPSP members highlighted.

ALPSP, AAP/PSP and STM White Paper on Author and Publisher rights for Academic use

Joint statement lays out general terms for the appropriate balancing of rights for academic journal publishing (8 May 2007 pdf).

Member briefing: UK copyright exceptions, 2014

A member briefing about the change to UK copyright exceptions to be implemented in June 2014. Sorry, only available to members.

Articles & Reports

2014 WIPO report on copyright exceptions (PDF)

WIPO's report looks at copyright limitations and exceptions found in its member states. This current report updates the original report produced in 2008 an expands on the information originally presented. The original report only looked at 149 (of 184 members) but this has now been extended to 186 of the total 187 member states.

EC study on legal framework for text and data mining, 2014

The "Study on the legal framework of text and data mining (TDM)" was commissioned by the European Commission to assess whether mining of freely accessible text and data should be distinguished from that which is restricted, and assess what acts and rights could be relevant for these activities, and whether legislative changes are required to balance the different interests involved. The research concluded that a new specific data analysis exception should be introduced into copyright legislation - to be based on the scientific research exceptions. The authors felt that a specific TDM exception shoudl be added to the existing legal framework, partly because current exceptions may be waived by contract, partly because of the controversy over what is scientific research and partly the restriction of the definition of 'scientific research'.

Gowers Review of Copyright: 2006 and consultations to 2010

In December 2005, the Chancellor of the Exchequer asked Andrew Gowers to conduct an independent review into the UK Intellectual Property Framework. The Review was published on 6th December 2006. Further consultation was undertaken in 2009/2010 by the Intellectual Property Office See also the response from the Publishers Association,

Hargreaves review of UK copyright, 2011

The report, Digital Opportunity, follows a six-month independent review of IP and Growth, led by Professor Ian Hargreaves. The UK government response can also be read online, Following a public consultation, the Business, Innovation and Skills Committee issued its first report with recommendations for government in 2012.

Leahy's Protect IP Act: Why Internet content wars will never end

An illuminating discussion of the PROTECT Act and of the role of copyright in the digital environment on the Forbes Blog.


Michael Geist - Canadian IP blogger

Canadian blog covering copyright and other IP issues.


2015 guide to how different countries tackle piracy

The UK Intellectual Property Office has issued International comparison of approaches to online copyright infringement. This is a short guideline on the way several diferent countries deal with online piracy. The countries considered include South Korea, Canada, USA, France, Netherlands, Brazil, and the UK.

2015 PRC guide to legal aspects of OA licensing

The Publishing Research Consortium (prc) issued  ‘Open Access Licensing’ to provide legal perspectives for authors, publishers, funders repository platforms regarding open access licensing. The guide considers different European conventions on copyright. The substance of the report is a consideration of the licensor and licensee rights and obligations with Open Publication Content (OPC): it also discusses diferent author/publisher agreements. Usefully it includes a section with recommendations for the rights and obligations that should be included in any author/publisher contract.

Guidelines on Copyright and Academic Research for researchers and publishers in the Humanities and Social Sciences

The Publishers Association and The British Academy produced joint guidelines on Copyright and Academic Research in 2008. The guidelines have been set for researchers, publishers, authors and other rightsholders to give information on copyright and other current issues involving literary works.

JISC/Surf Copyright Toolbox

The toolbox is developed to assist authors and publishers to achieve a balance between granting maximum access to a journal article and financial compensation for the publisher of an article.

SPARC author's addendum

A guideline on how to modify a publisher's agreement so that the authors retain key rights in their materials. The guideline was developed by SPARC in partnership with Creative Commons and Science Commons.

STM Permissions Guidelines

Guidelines on the granting of permission to re-use limited amounts of material from published works - updated 2009.

The Compendium of US Copyright Office Practices, 3rd edition, 2014

The compendium is written as a technical manual for copyright owners, scholarly and users and provides basic information about copyright law and answers questions about fees, litigation and other procedural matters. It also provides links to the relevant online sections of US copyright law on the site.

UK copyright law guide (2014)

The UK IP office has issued a series of simplistic guides to the recent changes in copyright law. The various guides provide an overview, and then specific guides for consumers, for education, for creators, libraries an public bodies, and also for this interested in accessible formats.

UK Crown Copyright

Material produced by employees of the Crown (e.g. UK government ministers, etc.) is subject to Crown Copyright. This website explains the rules around publishing this work.

US Government works and copyright permissions FAQs

FAQs on various copyright issues - of particular interest for publishers wanting to use works authored by US Government employees. (The FAQ were published in 2008, but are still relevant.)


Intellectual Property Watch

News service website on IP issues.


ACA2K - copyright in African countries

The African Copyright & Access to Knowledge (ACA2K) Project is probing the relationship in African countries between national copyright environments and access to hard-copy and digital learning materials. (There seems to have been little activity since 2011.)

Alliance for Intellectual Property

A coalition of trade and enforcement organisations to provide advocacy and action in preventing intellectual property theft in the UK.

Australian Copyright Agency Limited

The "information sheets" provide a wealth of information about copyright issues, especially digital copyright. 

Conyers Bill (USA) - challenging funding agencies' rights to demand transfer of rights

A bill originally brought to the US Senate September 2008 which proposed that funding agencies do not have the right to require transfer of rights or licence to the government as a prerequisite of their funding.

Copyright Hub

The Copyright Hub, launched in 2013, provides a gateway to information about copyright in the UK. including information about copyright, how to obtain permission to use somebody else's work or find out about protecting a work.

Copyright Tribunal

A service from the UK Crown Copyright office to adjudicate terms and conditions of licence agreements where disputes arise.


Run by the compliance arm of the Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA, UK), the website encourages the reporting of illegal copying.

CREATe - centre for copyright study, UK

CREATe was launched in 2013 as the Centre for Copyright and New Business Models in the Creative Economy backed by Government.  Its role is to educate as well as research and advise on copyright changes. In addition to research it has also set up several public information resources, both online and at events around the UK.

Creative Commons

Creative Commons provides free tools that let authors, scientists, artists and educators easily mark their creative work with the freedoms they want it to carry.

EC copyright information

European Commission website with information about international copyright laws and debates.

EiFL IP resources

The EiFL (Electronic Information for Libraries) resources have been written to assist librarians in managing copyright and other related rights (e.g. licensing).

IFLA country reports on copyright changes

The IFLA site provides links to short country reports explaining legislative changes to copyright and other IPR issues, spanning back to 2006. The reports are coordinated by the Committee on Copyright and other Legal Matters, and written either by in-country groups (e.g. CILIP in the UK) or local specialists. The reports discuss changes either under discussion or that have been implemented. 

International Intellectual Property Alliance

The IIPA is a private sector coalition formed in 1984 to represent the US copyright-based industries in bilateral and multilateral efforts to improve international protection of copyrighted materials.

National copyright laws: UNESCO database

Useful portal, with links to copyright legislation in over 100 member countries of UNESCO.

Publishers Association copyright portal

A web tool for serving take-down notices on pirate sites. ALPSP members are entitled to a 50% discount to use the service.

Russian court for IPR

Russia has opened a specialised court for intellectual property rights (the IPR Court) instituted within the system of commercial ('arbitrazh') courts of the Russian Federation.

UK Copyright Licensing Agency

The Copyright Licensing Agency is the UK company licensing photocopying, scanning, etc. The website contains useful information about UK legislation and general copyright information.

UK Digital Economy Act, 2010

The Bill was passed with the omission of the controversial Clause 43 that covered provisions for extended licensing as well as for orphan works.

UK extends copyright exceptions, 2014

In 2014 the UK extended its exceptions to provide greater freedom to use copyright works. Of particular note is the increased education freedoms, which may undermine some existing licensing agreements. 

US Copyright Office

The US Copyright Office website provides online registration of copyright and information about copyright for the USA.

WIPO Copyright and Related Rights

An extensive site with information, treaties, meeting dates and outcomes and other resources on copyright around the world.

WIPO document: copyright exceptions

Produced in 2009 this document lists copyright exceptions throughout the world.

WIPO Lex (Collection of national IP Laws)

WIPO Lex is an electronic database which provides access to intellectual property (IP) laws and treaties of the Members of WIPO, the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the United Nations (UN).  It also covers IP-related treaties administered by various multilateral and regional organisations as well as bilateral treaties which contain IP-relevant provisions. WIPO Lex aims to provide legal information which is authoritative, comprehensive and up-to-date. Given the scope of coverage, the database is a work-in-progress and updating of entries is done on a continuous and regular basis.

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