The archive of magazines on this website includes editions from recent months to over 100 years ago. The following summary is our best understanding of UK copyright law as it applies to magazines and newsletters such as Grasmere Parish Magazine. This guidance has been prepared in good faith for anyone who might wish to reproduce content from this website, but it is not a definitive statement of the law, for which users should seek professional legal advice.
Where the publishers of Grasmere Parish Magazine are identified as owners of copyright, e.g. imprints or material written by the publishers or editors, the publishers are Grasmere Parochial Church Council.
We make every effort to obtain permission to reproduce any material from external sources still in copyright, e.g. poems or other literary works.
1. Who Owns Copyright?
Copyright rests with the original author. Refs 1, 2, 3.
For a magazine with many articles by different authors, the copyright of each individual article is owned by its author(s).
2. How long does Copyright last?
Known Author – 70 years from the end of the year of the author’s death. Refs. 1, 2, 3
Multiple Known Authors – 70 years from the end of the year of the last identifiable author’s death.
Unknown Author – 70 years from the end of the year in which the work was made or 70 years from when the work was made available to the public, if this event occurs within the 70 year period from the date of creation.
This rule would apply individually to each article in a magazine with multiple articles.
3. Copyright can be assigned e.g. to a publisher in return for royalties on copies sold, but in doing so the author sells their own right to copy the work. An alternative is for an author to licence a publisher to produce copies, in which case they only assign those rights to the work which are specified in the licence and retain ownership of the copyright themselves. Ref. 3
To the best of our knowledge, no author of any article in any edition of Grasmere Parish Magazine has ever assigned copyright to anyone else.
4. Copyright can be inherited
The person who inherits the work will become the new copyright owner. Ref 1
In the case of the death of an author, copyright would pass to his/her estate until the 70 year period expires.
5. Copyright of imprints
In the UK, copyright in the actual typographical layout of the published editions only lasts for 25 years from the end of the year in which it was published. In other words reproducing the magazines by scanning them would not pose any problem, but you would still need permission to re-publish the individual articles and illustrations unless you were absolutely sure the authors had died more than 70 years ago. Refs 1, 2, 4.
6. Use of extracts without needing consent
‘Fair dealing’ in UK law permits the use of copyright material to be used without consent from the copyright owner for the purposes of:-
• Non-commercial research or private study
• Copies or lending for educational purposes
• Criticism and review
• The reporting of current events
• Parody, caricature and pastiche
– Refs. 1, 2.
This is not a complete list but covers the more likely cases for a printed newsletter magazine.
See Refs 1, 2 for further discussion and examples.
How much of a work can I use under fair-dealing?
There is no simple formula or percentage that can be applied. You may have seen figures like ‘up to 10%’ or ‘no more than 400 words’ quoted in some publications, but such figures are at best a rough guide and can be misleading. What is acceptable will vary from one work to another.
In cases that have come to trial what is clear is that it is the perceived importance of the copied content rather than simply thequantity that counts. Judges hearing such cases often have to make an objective decision on whether the use is justified or excessive. Ref 1.
1. UK Copyright Service Factsheet No. P-01
2. Tate Gallery – A Brief Guide to Copyright
3. Village and Parish Magazines
4. Copyright Aid blog
For further information on any aspect of copyright as it applies to Grasmere Parish Magazine, please contact us, and we will do our best to help.