Licensing & Re-Use
Images from the University of Edinburgh collections are regularly featured in academic articles, major publications, webpages and TV programmes.
Permission to Re-Use (including publication, web use and broadcasting): For anything other than private research use, please fill out the permissions enquiry form below. For permission to use existing images, please provide our image repository link on the form. We do not charge for licensing or for re-use of our images. For non-digitised images, we will use the information on the form to provide a quote for digitisation.
Permission Enquiry Form
Please use our online enquiry form.
Copyright refers to the rights granted to the creator of any original work to permit or prevent other people from copying it. Heritage Collections could still be in copyright, and it is important not to use or re-use someone else’s work illegally. Works can be in copyright whether they are published or unpublished. Even works with no known creator, called “orphan” works, can be in copyright.
The list below applies even if they are unpublished or the creator is unknown:
- Literary Works
- Dramatic Works
- Musical Works
- Artistic Works
- Sound Recordings
- Typographic Works
Usually works are in copyright until 70 years after the death of the creator . However, there are exceptions and complications, especially to do with orphan works. See page 15 of this fact sheet for a more in-depth diagram.
There are some exceptions to copyright:
Private study and non-commercial research (copying of an in-copyright work for private use)
Criticism, review, and quotation (an extract or perhaps a limited copy of an in-copyright work could be used if the work is being written about)
Text and data mining (digital analysis of large amounts of copyright works to establish patterns, only for non-commercial research)
Parody, caricature, and pastiche (copying of an in-copyright work for a new work satirising the original)
Access for disabled users (Copying for accessibility, if an accessible copy is not available and the copy is for private use)
The University of Edinburgh has an Open by Default policy, which means that we make digitised content as openly accessible as possible. For example, y giving a CC BY licence we are saying “UoE is the copyright holder of the digital image but you are entitled to do whatever you like with it as long as you credit UoE as the copyright holder. This means that, while the collections themselves may still be in copyright, we do not restrict re-use of our own images or charge licensing fees.
We are always happy to help if you are unsure of copyright status. Please email us at HeritageCollections@ed.ac.uk. You can also look for the CC BY license on our image website. Any image with this license can be re-used, as long as the University of Edinburgh is attributed.
UK GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) is legislation codifying how and why personal data can be held and treated by organisations. It confirms a fundamental right to privacy and restricts the ways that data can be shared. This is important in the context of heritage collections as our material, especially archival material, can contain personal data – meaning we sometimes need to restrict access to certain material. This is especially important when dealing with special category data.
Personal data refers to information that can identify individuals. It includes, but is not limited to:
Date of birth
Location data (e.g. addresses)
Online identifiers (e.g. cookies or IP addresses)
Special Category data refers to data that needs further protection due to its sensitive nature. It includes, but is not limited to:
Racial or ethnic origins
Religious or philosophical beliefs
Trade Union membership
Sexual orientation or an individual’s sex life
UK GDPR protects data of any living individual. UK GDPR does not apply to anyone who is deceased, unless sharing that person’s personal data would cause substantial damage or distress to a living person (e.g. their relatives). Examples of substantial damage or distress include:
Strong emotional upset
Since we have a duty to make sure that we do not violate UK GDPR by sharing personal data in our collections, we may need to check and restrict access to certain material. If researchers request material from within the last 100 years, it may need to be cleared by an archivist before it can be made available. In some cases, the material may not be made available, or may be made available with restrictions – in which case we need signed agreement to those restrictions.
Statement of Public Task
The University of Edinburgh complies with the Reuse of Public Sector Information Regulations. For more information, please see our statement of public task.
We make every effort to ensure that content published on the platforms collections.ed.ac.uk and images.is.ed.ac.uk does not infringe any person’s intellectual property rights. If you believe that any intellectual property rights have been infringed by any of the images hosted on these sites, please see our Takedown Policy.