Accessibility statement

Information rights


Data Protection

Freedom of Information

Contracts and Sponsorship Manager

Information rights covers the legal requirements for handling and re-using information. It balances the principles of open access to information with the protection of individual privacy and ownership rights.

Information rights policies relate closely to other areas of information policy, including information security and records management.

We must all follow the law and University policies when handling and re-using information, particularly personal data.

All information rights policies and associated guidance are listed in the Information Policy index.

Links to specific guidance are provided under each of the four main areas below.

Data protection

The GDPR and Data Protection Act 2018 aim to protect the privacy of the individual in relation to the personal information organisations may hold about them.

They establish key principles that govern the collection, use and handling of personal information and provide individuals with important rights.

The University's Data Protection Policy explains how these requirements are met.

Anyone who uses personal information as part of their University activity must be aware of this policy.

What do I need to do?

The Data Protection website provides comprehensive guidance on all aspects of data protection.

In addition, information on how the University protects your personal information is available:

Freedom of information

The Freedom of Information Act and Environmental Information provide members of the public with a general right of access to the recorded information held by the University.

The legislation works to promote openness across the public sector.

The Freedom of Information Policy explains how the University meets these requirements.

All members of staff should be aware of the basic requirements of the FoI Act as it is possible for any information held by the University to be requested.

It is also important that staff know what to do should they receive or be involved in dealing with a FoI request.

What do I need to do?

The Freedom of Information website provides information to help you understand the FoI Act and the University’s approach.


Textual, artistic, dramatic and musical works, databases and software are among the forms of creative output protected by copyright.

The creator can assign the copyright in a work to a publisher or another interested party, often in exchange for a fee or royalties. Copyright protection in the UK expires 70 years after the death of the creator in most cases, although the extent may differ for some material types and unpublished works.

In the UK copyright is governed by the ‌Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. Exceptions written into the law allow the re-use of third party material without infringing copyright in some circumstances. If no exception applies, it is necessary to reach agreement with the rights-holder to make use of the work, through a licence or a private transaction.

If you wish to use, reproduce or even store third party material, consider:

  • Is the material protected by copyright?
  • Can the material be used under the exceptions allowed in copyright legislation?
  • If not, does the University hold the necessary licence?
  • If your intended use is not licensed, can you get permission from the rights-holder?

Ensure that you respect any licence terms or conditions of use, such as attributing the work to the original creator, restricting its onward distribution, or destroying your copy after an agreed period of time.

University of York does not claim the copyright in its students' work or employees' scholarly publications in most circumstances. Take steps to protect your copyright when sharing your own work with others:

  • Ensure that you are identified as the creator, or credited for your contribution
  • Check the terms and conditions of any web platform which hosts your material
  • License your work through a publisher or in the Creative Commons

What do I need to do?

The University's Copyright web pages provide further guidance on copyright law, the licences held by the University, and how these apply to teaching, research and student activities.

Intellectual property

Intellectual Property (IP) can include know-how, inventions, results, copyright, patents and software.

It can arise from many activities within the University, including unfunded and publicly funded research, sponsored or collaborative research, student projects, and general academic endeavours.

In general, under its employment conditions, the University owns all IP created or devised by its employees.

The University wishes to ensure that IP is properly handled to maximise its value for the benefit of the University, the staff concerned and the wider economy.

It is important that if you have created IP you follow the correct procedures to ensure its protection and exploitation.

The Policy on Intellectual Property applies to all University staff and students. It explains what IP covers, who owns it and how it can be protected.

What do I need to do?

The Intellectual Property website provides information on what IP covers, the categories of rights and the University’s approach. It will help you understand your and the University’s rights and what you need to do to protect them.