Copyright and other legal issues: Your essential guide
As with journal articles, it is the book or chapter author’s responsibility to clear permission for any work in copyright contained in the book (for both print and ebook formats) and to settle any fees which may arise as a result.
This guide outlines Edward Elgar Publishing’s policy on copyright and our requirements for permissions clearance. It also covers essential information for authors about plagiarism, libel/ defamation and using personal data. It provides best-practice guidance and not legal advice.
Editors must also confirm with chapter authors that they have cleared permissions and complied with these other legal requirements.
Missing copyright permissions are the biggest source of delay to publication. It is vital to clear permissions well in advance of the manuscript submission deadline and keep accurate records to ensure timely publication.
Editors must also confirm with chapter authors that they have cleared permissions and complied with these other legal requirements.
EEP Copyright Policy
The Berne Convention of Literary and Artistic Works affords copyright protection to authors for at least their lifetime plus 70 years. Any completed work that falls within this time frame, whether printed or online, is subject to copyright protection.
If this is your first book, but you have published journal articles, then good practice regarding copyright in writing your book is just the same as that for a journal article. As with journal articles, it is the book or chapter author’s responsibility to clear permission for any work in copyright contained in the book and to settle any fees which may arise as a result.
- You must apply for permission to use any material not covered by the ‘fair dealing/fair use’ rule. This will include all figures, tables, photographs, epigraphs, poetry and maps that have previously been published in print or online unless they are copyright free.
- You will need to include an acknowledgement alongside any previously published material, whether or not it is covered by the ‘fair dealing’ rule.
- All copyright permissions and issues should be resolved before you submit your final manuscript files to us. We will ask you to confirm this at the point of submission and we will not be able to proceed to production until you do so.
- As copyright is the responsibility of the author, we will not comprehensively check the text for potential copyright issues on your behalf.
- The rise of digitization means that copyright infringements including plagiarism and self-plagiarism have become increasingly easy to spot and to prosecute after publication. We strongly suggest that you keep a log of all permissions cleared, the terms of each license, and all efforts made to contact rights owners from whom you were unable to seek or clear permissions [see sample log in Appendix 2].
Further information and some tips to expedite the process are included in point 3.
Permissions processes graphic
Fair Dealing/Fair Use
According to the UK Intellectual Property Office, ‘Fair dealing for criticism, review or quotation is allowed for any type of copyright work. Fair dealing with a work for the purpose of reporting current events is allowed for any type of copyright work other than a photograph. In each of these cases, a sufficient acknowledgement will be required.’ In practice, much depends on the source material and the quantity and type of the material you wish to use as well as its position within the text (see epigraphs). This rule only applies to academic text for the purpose of academic critique and comment. Non-academic material, such as song lyrics or poetry, and illustrative material such as figures and tables are not covered by fair use.
As a rule of thumb, permission to reproduce an academic text is generally required if a quoted extract exceeds 400 words, or a collection of extracts from the same source exceed 800 words. The citation should encourage the reader to seek out the original material, its use shouldn’t make reading the original redundant. Permission must be sought from the original publisher as well as the author(s) of any published material if in doubt. All material should be clearly attributed and a full reference given to the original source.
Plagiarism and Self Plagiarism
Accusations of plagiarism are serious and, whether deliberate or accidental, can have a detrimental impact on the academic reputation of the person accused. We take plagiarism seriously and will always take immediate action to investigate complaints and remove a publication, or part of a publication, from sale if necessary.
This is defined as a form of plagiarism in which the writer republishes some or all of a piece of their own previously published work without appropriate acknowledgement. Plagiarism software can make self-plagiarism far easier to detect and recent examples abound of academics being held to account or persecuted for self-plagiarism and of careers being ruined as a result of it.
What Do I Need Permission For?
Using your own previously published work
You are not necessarily free to publish a previously published piece of your own work again without consulting the original publisher. You should refer to your original agreement to check if permission needs to be cleared and be sure to cite your work correctly whether permission is required or not (see self-plagiarism).
Publishers should grant permission to re-use your own work, potentially subject to an embargo period. Please note that some publishers charge a fee for use of your work in a book edited by a third party and a few publishers will charge for use of your own work in a book written or edited by yourself. Please check your contract regarding who is responsible for any costs incurred.
An epigraph is a short quotation positioned before the start of the main text of the book or chapter and are not covered under ‘fair dealing’. We strongly recommend that epigraphs are not included and unless you are able to confirm the epigraph is out of copyright or you have permission from the copyright holder (usually the publisher), we will remove these from the manuscript.
The Internet is subject to the same copyright laws as printed works. Please assume that permission needs to be sought for any material sourced from the internet unless expressly stated on the webpage that it is in the public domain. It cannot be assumed that the website owner/author is the copyright holder. Information can usually be found regarding the copyright holder in the small print of the website. Images taken from the Internet are not in the public domain unless expressly stated and can be too poor quality to reproduce in a book.
Open Access and freely available material
Simply because work has been made freely accessible to readers does not mean that copyright has been waived, or that the work is in the public domain. Please check the terms of the publication license for any open access or freely available material (e.g. Wikimedia images) as commercial reuse may be prohibited or restricted and permission may need to be cleared. Full citation should always be given.
Poetry and song lyrics
Such text of any length is not covered by the ‘fair dealing’ rule and permission can prove very expensive.
Figures, tables, maps and illustrations
Permission is required for any tables, diagrams, maps or illustrations copied from published sources, which includes material posted on the internet and screenshots. Acknowledgement of source, author and publisher must be made. Original tables and figures with information drawn from other sources do not need permission but sources must be acknowledged.
Permission may be required from the original photographer, the owner of the photograph, anyone who is in the image and the owner of any private building, object or artwork in the photograph before including it. An acknowledgement must be made in the text below the photograph.
If you have translated material yourself or used a third-party translation above the length allowed under fair dealing you will need to obtain permission from the original-language publisher if you have translated it or from the publisher of the translation you have used.
Permission is often granted for a single edition only. If you are preparing a new edition of a book please check and re-clear any necessary copyright permissions.
How Do I Seek Permission? General Advice and Online Copyright Clearance
It is usually possible to obtain copyright permission using simple online systems. When requesting permission to use material, you should request permission for print (hardback and paperback) and electronic editions of the book, as well as world language rights. If the Elgar work is to be published Open Access you must also request permission for this use.
Some permission requests, (including work originally published by Edward Elgar Publishing), may be handled through the Copyright Clearance Centre (http://www.copyright.com/) or PLSclear (https://plsclear.com/). For artwork you may need to apply via https://www.dacs.org.uk/licensing-works and if you are struggling to find a copyright holder this site may be of use: https://norman.hrc.utexas.edu/watch/.
You need to be able to demonstrate that you have made a reasonable attempt to seek permission and so, if you do not receive a reply to your initial letter, you cannot presume that you may proceed with using the material. You should ensure you have contacted the copyright holder by email or letter at least three times and keep a record of all attempts made to gain permission. If you still do not receive a response please ask your editor for advice.
If permission is refused or the fee charged is unreasonably high you may wish to appeal against the decision by writing again to the copyright holder. However, if your application is ultimately unsuccessful you have no alternative but to remove the material from your chapter.
Template Permission Letter
If you require a draft permission letter, please find one below, which can be amended as necessary.
I have been invited by Edward Elgar Publishing to contribute a chapter in the book ".........................................." edited by
I am writing for permission to use the following:
xxxxxxxxxxxxx by xxxxxxxxxxxxxx published in xxxxxxx (2020)
I hope that you will grant me non-exclusive rights to use the above in both print (hardback and paperback) and electronic formats as well as world
language right. I will of course include the normal form of acknowledgement to the original source of publication. I would be very grateful if you
would sign this letter as confirmation of your permission to use this material as soon as possible.
With many thanks for your assistance.
Copyright Permissions or Previously Published Material in your Work
Copyright acknowledgements should appear with the text, figure, table etc. that has been reproduced. Copyright holders often make the position and wording of the acknowledgement a condition of granting permission, so please follow their requirements carefully.
Information for Editors
If your book is edited, it is vital that you also now pass these guidelines on to your contributors. The Contributors Agreement also makes the obligation of the contributors regarding any copyrighted material in their own chapters clear. Please ensure that they return their agreements to you.
Before you accept their final chapter, please ensure that each contributor has confirmed that all permissions have been cleared. If any contributors raise copyright queries that you do not feel confident to deal with, please let us know as soon as possible.
Privacy and Data Protection of Research Subjects
To comply with the very strict European personal data protection laws (GDPR) any personal data – including case studies, photographs etc. – about living individuals used in your work must be anonymized, or written consent from that individual must be obtained and you should keep good records of this. If consent is not realistically possible then please contact us for advice.
Please also refer to the Research Ethics section below.
Libel and defamation
You have agreed in your contract that your manuscript will not contain anything libelous that may be the cause of litigation. Please ensure that you do not make any defamatory or injurious statement or implication about living persons, institutions or other organizations that could result in libel claims. It is no defence against a libel action that a defamatory statement has been previously published. If you have any questions about this please consult your commissioning editor who will take legal advice if necessary.
In addition to the potential legal issues related to publishing, failure to follow good ethical practice in research and publishing may lead to reputational damage, sanctions by an individual's institution and withdrawal of a publication. This is particularly important where research includes interviews with individuals or case studies and should be considered in addition to the legal requirements in the privacy section above.
Most research funding bodies have resources to help researchers navigate this topic such as this webpage on the ESRC website
Policy on the use of Open AI tools in manuscript preparation:
- The use of AI tools such as ChatGPT (or related platforms) to generate substantive content, such as the analysis of data or the development of written arguments, is not permitted. An author's final written text should be their own and reflect their own ideas, arguments, and conclusions.
- If authors choose to use AI tools to assist in their research for a book, chapter, or article, they must disclose this in the manuscript.
- The publisher reserves the right to verify the use of ChatGPT (or related platforms) and to reject manuscripts that violate this policy.
- As this is a fast moving area, this policy is subject to change and if in any doubt authors should consult with their commissioning editor.