Copyright is one of the intellectual property rights (others include patents & trademarks) designed to protect the “expression of ideas”. It aims to protect and reward original creator(s) of works for the investment of their time, effort and skill.
UK Copyright Law protects the commercial rights of authors, creators and publishers of written works (including their typographical arrangement), music (both composition and performance), works of art and computer programmes. In simple terms, it allows them to control who copies the material they have created so that they retain the right to exploit its commercial potential.
Further information about copyright and how it applies to Higher Education can be found on the Copyright Licensing Agency's website.