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Copyright, Licensing and GDPR: Copying of Artistic Works

Artistic Works

'Artistic works', including paintings, drawings, maps, photographs, sculptures and collages, are all covered by copyright. Understand how such works may be incorporated into your learning or teaching materials, including the use of images in Powerpoint or LearningZone.


This includes most of what falls under the definition of "graphic works". These items may be copied if they form part of an article or if they are included in extracts from other material. The Copyright Licensing Agency Higher Education Licence permits the photocopying or scanning of pages in printed works covered by its licence, whether these pages consist wholly of text, wholly of images, or a mixture of the two.

Definition of Artistic Works

“Artistic works” are defined by the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 as including a graphic work, photograph, sculpture or collage, with "graphic work" further defined to include paintings, drawings, diagrams, maps, charts, plans, engravings, etchings, lithographs, woodcuts or similar. The definition of a "photograph" excludes stills from a film but includes slides, negatives and microfilm. Architectural works (including buildings of any kind), and works of artistic craftsmanship, such as jewellery or pottery, are also included. Copyright subsists in all of the above, regardless of artistic quality or craftsmanship.

Inclusion of Images in Powerpoint

The CLA licence permits a digital copy to be prepared of a whole page visual image, and the disembedding of a part-page visual image, if such copies are taken from works covered by its licence. Such digital copies may be used in standard presentation software packages for the purpose of illustrating a lecture or tutorial, provided only staff and a cohort of students on a particular course of study are in attendance.

Images from items not covered by the CLA licence, or downloaded from the internet, should not be included in LearningZone modules or Powerpoint presentations unless there are clear permissions allowing this, or you have the authorisation of the copyright owner.

Duration of artistic works

For works created after 1989, the general rule is that copyright lasts for 70 years after the artist’s death, or, if anonymous, 70 years from creation or from first being made available to the public. The rules for works created before that date are more complex and you should seek further advice.


It is generally acceptable for a single copy of a complete photograph to be made by an individual under fair dealing for private study or research for non-commercial purposes. However, multiple copies for use in class are not permitted. You should not include photographs in LearningZone or Powerpoint unless you are the copyright owner, or have written permission. If the photograph contains pictures of individuals, it is good practice to seek their permission before using these, even if you own the copyright.