The Royalairforcemuseum S Policy for the Handling of Intellectual Property Rights

The Royalairforcemuseum S Policy for the Handling of Intellectual Property Rights

Intellectual Property RightsRAFM/11/21/2/25



  1. Many items acquired by the Museum are subject to copyright, and some artefacts may be associated with design rights and patent rights. All these rights are collectively known as Intellectual Property Rights (IPR).
  1. During the course of their work certain members of the Museum staff are likely to do the following, all of which may have some bearing on IPRs:

a)Provide copies of photographs and extracts from books and documents for research, private study, publication or exhibition;

b)Create documents, photographs, designs and other items;

c)Use photographs, film/video, music and reproductions of works of art in Museum exhibitions and publications;

d)Copy photographs, logbooks and documents into the Museum’s collections for research purposes. Copies of these copies might be provided to third parties;

e)Receive enquiries about reproducing artefacts from the collection for commercial purposes;

f)Provide access to commercial companies for filming, sound recording and photography in the Museum.

g)Build and/or use databases containing data relating to, for example artefactsin the Museum's care, visitors and other customers

  1. The following IPRs exist:

a)Copyright: this governs the copying of text, images, film, photographs, video, sound recordings, music and computer programs. The period for which copyright lasts is usually 70 years from the end of the year in which the creator of the work died, but there are variations. Advice on specific cases is available from the Museum’s Copyright Officer;

b)Design Right: protects original designs;

c)Patent Right: protects inventions;

d)Moral rights:

i)the right to be identified as the author of a work/director of a film. This right means that we would have to acknowledge the creator of, for example, a photograph used in a display or publication. However, the creator has to assert their right in writing, and the right does not apply to works created as part of the author’s employment, such as official RAF photographs. This right lapses when the item comes out of copyright.

ii)the right to object to derogatory treatment of the work. “Derogatory” is defined as “amounting to distortion or mutilation of the work or ..…prejudicial to the honour or reputation of the author or director.” This right lapses when the item comes out of copyright.

iii)the right to prohibit false attribution. This gives a person the right not to be falsely identified as the creator of a work. This right lapses 20 years from the end of the year in which the person dies.

iv)the right to privacy of “private and domestic” photographs and films. The person who commissions the taking of a photograph or the making of a film for private and domestic purposes has the right to prohibit the supply of copies to the public and the exhibition or broadcast of the work, whilst it remains in copyright. This right lapses when the item comes out of copyright;

e)Publication Right: this right lasts for 25 years and is owned by the person who first makes available to the public a work (such as a document, drawing or photograph) provided that both:

i)Copyright in the work has expired, and

ii)The work has not been made available to the public in any country of the European Union prior to the expiry of copyright;

f)Performers’ Rights: these relate largely to the recording of live performances. Speeches, lectures, interviews etc should not be recorded unless the consent of the performer has been obtained. Copying such recordings and the issue of copies to the public requires the consent of both the performer(s) and the copyright holder. These rights last for 50 years from the date of the performance or from the end of the year in which a recording of the performance is released.

g)Database Right: This right exists where "a substantial investment" has been made in obtaining, verifying or presenting the contents of a database. It exists whilst the database is being compiled, lasts for 15 years beyond the calendar year in which the database was completed (or substantially revised) and is intended to guard against the unauthorised reproduction of data.

  1. This document lays out the Museum’s policy towards IPR and identifies ways in which its rights will be protected, and how the Museum will endeavour to obtain the freedom to exploit such rights as fully as possible relating to material in its collections.


Acquisition of Artefacts

  1. In cases where copyright in an artefact is assigned to the Museum, the original copyright owner will normally be granted a licence by the Museum, to enable him to continue using the material for the rest of his life. The Museum will, however, ask the donor to notify the Museum of any use he makes of the material.
  1. The retention by the author of his moral rights gives him little benefit but creates significant extra administrative work for the Museum. Therefore, where the owner is also the author, the Museum will ask him to waive his moral rights in writing. The Museum will make clear that these rights will not be infringed.

Creation of Material

  1. The Museum is a Crown body, so the IPR in material created by Museum staff in the course of their duties belongs to the Crown. When the Museum commissions a literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work the contract will, wherever possible, include a clause by which either:

a)the author assigns his copyright to the Museum (and thereby to the Crown), or;

b)the Museum is given a licence to deal freely with the material it is commissioning.

The first of these is preferred.

  1. Where the Museum commissions software, advice on IPR will be sought from CCTA (the Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency) on a case by case basis.

Exhibitions and Publications

  1. The Museum will make all reasonable efforts to obtain permission from the relevant copyright holders before using material in its exhibitions or reproducing it in its publications. Where details of the copyright holder are not known, the Museum’s Copyright Officer is to be consulted before proceeding.
  1. Where permission has been obtained by the Museum for the use of copyright images or text for a specific purpose, any other use must be negotiated separately. For example, where permission has been granted for the use of an image in an exhibition panel, the Museum will not reproduce the panel further (such as part of a pamphlet) without the prior permission of the copyright owner.

Public Access

  1. Making a work available to the public even in a ‘non-display’ area such as the reading room, or a store, is a form of publication. If the museum makes public a previously unpublished work, in which the copyright period has expired, the Museum acquires Publication Rights in the work. The Museum will reserve these rights and will make this clear at the time.
  1. The Museum will not generally release digitised images until it has a clear policy within which to operate in this medium.

Supply of Copies

  1. All copies supplied, including photographs, documents or electronic images, will be marked to the effect that further reproduction, including reproduction on the Internet, is not allowed without the consent of the copyright holder.
  1. Copying of complete documents and volumes will only be undertaken in circumstances laid down in sections 38 to 43 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. Up-to-date copies of the Act and related legislation will be kept in the Museum’s Library.
  1. The Museum’s Archives and Library are permitted to supply single copies of an article in a periodical, or single copies of a part of a published literary, dramatic or musical work for research or private study.
  1. Single copies of a whole work may be provided for the purposes of research or private study where the work is unpublished, eg a letter in the Archive, and the copyright owner has not prohibited copying.
  1. Single copies of photographs will be supplied, for research, private study or further reproduction, subject to the restrictions below.

Further Reproduction (including commercial reproduction)

  1. Where the Museum does not hold copyright in an item, or permission to authorise its further reproduction, a customer will be told that it is his responsibility to obtain such permission. Where details are known the Museum will either:

a)supply the address of a corporate copyright holder, or;

b)pass on any request for further reproduction to an individual copyright holder.

  1. Commercial reproduction (the supply, for profit, of multiple copies of an item, or the inclusion of items in a film, video or television production) will not be allowed in cases giving rise to any misrepresentation, particularly in connection with advertising or endorsement, or in any circumstances which are potentially libellous.
  1. Requests for the commercial reproduction of Crown Copyright material less than thirty years old are to be referred to HMSO’s Copyright Unit or, for material produced by MOD, to the Crown Copyright Section of the MOD Library.
  1. Requests for the commercial reproduction of unit badges are to be referred to the Crown Copyright Section of the MOD Library.
  1. A formal licensing agreement must be in place before reproduction/publication takes place. Advice on the wording of agreements must be sought by the Museum’s Copyright Officer from the HMSO Copyright Unit. The Museum will not issue exclusive licenses for the reproduction of its material.
  1. Crown Copyright must always be acknowledged: advice on the format of such acknowledgments is available from the Museum’s Copyright Officer.

Filming, Photography and Sound Recording In The Museum

  1. Filming, photography and sound recording by visitors for their private use is permitted.
  1. Filming, photography and sound recording for commercial purposes will be controlled by an agreement drawn up by the Museum. Any use of material produced under such an agreement for a different purpose will be the subject of a separate agreement.



  1. The Museum will make reasonable efforts to record as much information as possible concerning the status of the rights associated with artefacts in its collections.
  1. Where copies are supplied under the terms of paragraphs 12-15 the customer (including members of staff) must sign a copyright declaration and, in the case of the public, pay for the copy. This declaration will include statements to the effect that:

a)the customer will not supply further copies without permission, and;

b)any Publication Rights which may arise from previously unpublished material belong to the Museum.

  1. Copyright declarations will be stored in date order and kept for seven calendar years; formal licensing agreements will be retained for 20 years.


  1. There will be a charge to cover the supply of copies to customers. A further fee will normally be charged to the customer for his further reproduction of the material.
  1. The Museum will prepare and maintain a list of standard fees for the reproduction of such material. In addition the Museum will prepare and maintain a list of standard fees for commercial filming and photography. The standard fee may be varied with the approval of the Director.
  1. Reproduction fees may be waived or reduced in respect of applications for use of material for educational, professional, technical, historical or scientific purposes where profit is not a main purpose of reproduction.
  1. The Museum’s Copyright Officer will provide the Controller of HMSO with an annual statement of income generated from the reproduction of Crown Copyright material.


  1. Any apparent infringement of Crown Copyright is to be reported to the Museum’s Copyright Officer who will consult HMSO’s Copyright Unit. The decision to initiate formal court action will be taken by the Copyright Unit after consultation with the Treasury Solicitor.

Designated Authority

  1. The Museum’s Copyright Officer will be the Keeper of Research and Information Services.

© 1998 Trustees of the RoyalAirForceMuseum

Version 1, Approved by Trustees December 1998


Version 1: December 1998