Please note that the following notes are for guidance only and do not constitute legal advice.

Copyright, Reprography and Publication

The Archive holdings are covered by United Kingdom copyright law. The law restricts what may be copied or quoted in print so long as a literary or artistic work is in copyright. Written permission to publish material from any collection in the Archive should be obtained from the copyright owner. The Archivist may be able to help researchers identify current copyright holders.

Photocopying of original documents sometimes has to be restricted for conservation reasons as well as those of copyright. It may be possible for fragile material to be photographed as an alternative.

Copying material from unpublished papers

Under the provisions of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 and the Copyright and Related Rights Regulations 2003, we may photocopy unpublished material for the purposes of research (for a non-commercial purpose) or private study (for no commercial advantage) provided the following criteria are satisfied:

  • The copyright owner has not expressly forbidden it;
  • You have not already received a copy;
  • You will not supply the copy to any other person;
  • We make only one copy for which you pay all costs;
  • The material will withstand the process physically.

Researchers purchasing photocopies will be required to sign a copyright declaration to this effect. There is no guarantee that the copying will be carried out before you leave the Archive. Details of charges are available from the Archivist.

Quoting from material from unpublished papers

Changes to the law in 1989 abolished perpetual copyright in unpublished papers. For the bulk of the material we hold the important date is 2039, when the copyright will expire in manuscripts created before 1989, whose author was dead before that date and which remained unpublished during his/her lifetime. In the meantime, you should seek the permission of the copyright owner in a literary work, be it the draft of a speech, a diary, a letter or hasty note, before quoting from it in print. A fee may be charged for its use. Ownership of copyright is not the same as physical ownership of the paper on which the words themselves are written. We own the correspondence between Joyce Grenfell and Virginia Graham for instance, but not the copyright in either Grenfell's or Graham's own writings. Copyright in all these items rests with the writer of the document or his/her heirs, whatever the current location of the original.

The Archivist may be able to help in the identification of copyright owners. Otherwise, further information is available from:

  • WATCH Project (Writers and their copyright owners), The Library, The University of Reading, PO Box 223, Whiteknights, Reading, RG6 6AE. Email: d.c.sutton@reading.ac.uk. Tel: +44 (0) 118 931 8783. The WATCH File is a useful reference tool.
  • The Society of Authors at 84 Drayton Gardens, London, SW10 9SB, can advise on clearing copyright permission in published writing. Email: info@societyofauthors.org. Tel: +44 (0) 20 7373 6642. Fax: +44 (0) 20 7373 5768.

Reproducing material from unpublished papers

The Archivist must be notified of any intention to publish or quote from any document in the Archive. Formal acknowledgement should be made to 'The President, Fellows and Scholars of Lucy Cavendish College in the University of Cambridge'.

We hold photographs from the 1860s onwards. The duration of copyright, which generally rests with the photographer or his/her heirs, depends on when the photograph was taken:

  • pre-1957, whether published or unpublished, copyright lasts for 70 years from the date of the photograph;
  • between 1957-1989, and published before 1989, copyright lasts 70 years from the year of publication;
  • between 1957-1989, and unpublished before 1989, copyright expires 2039. 

Again, you should clear copyright with the owner before reproducing a photograph in print. Please note that in addition, we usually charge a reproduction fee for the use of any of our photographs, and indeed of photographs of manuscripts as illustrations, regardless of whether or not we own the copyright in them. A scale of fees is available from the Archivist.