Ethical use of information

Although information and communication technologies allow us to create, modify, consult, reproduce and disseminate information in an easy, fast and cost-efficient way, we must be sure that we use ethical and legal use.

    Although it is often used as synonyms "copyright"I "Intellectual property", It should be taken into account that intellectual property is a broader concept that also includes industrial property (patents, trademarks, industrial models, etc.).

    However, in the Spanish legal framework, the Intellectual Property Law (from now on, LPI) refers exclusively to copyright while industrial property is protected by other laws (Patent Law, Trademark Law, etc.).

    Copyright is intended to protect and encourage the intellectual creation of people, the object of this protection being literary, artistic and scientific works (the result of human intellect).

    La LPI grants the author of a work all rights over it (moral and exploitation rights):

    • All original literary, artistic or scientific creations expressed by any means or support are subject to intellectual property: books, writings, musical compositions, audiovisual works, graphic works, theatrical works, maps, computer programs, etc.
    • Without prejudice to the copyright of the original work, the corresponding derivative works are also subject to intellectual property: translations, adaptations, revisions, summaries, musical arrangements, etc.
    • Finally, databases are also subject to intellectual property, taking into account only their structure (form of expression of the selection or disposal of their contents).

    Copyright is grouped into moral rights, rights of exploitation and related rights:

    Moral rights The moral rights of the author are a set of irrevocable and inalienable rights that include the right of the author to be recognized as such, incorporates further guarantees such as the right of the author to His work is respected and can not be modified without his authorization.
    Exploitation rights

    The exclusive exercise of the exploitation rights of the works corresponds to their authors. However, the authors may transfer the ownership of these rights to third parties (with or without exclusivity). These are:

    • Right of reproduction: Reproductions made on paper, microfibre or any other digital media.
    • Right of distribution: distribution is made if it is present, making available to the public exemplary physical media, compact disc, video ...
    • Right of public communication: Dissertations, projections of audiovisual works, exhibitions, or transmissions by thread, cable, fiber optic or analogous procedures (dissemination of content on the Internet or intranets).
    • Law of transformation: translations, adaptations for children, summaries and excerpts, theatrical versions, modifications of images or logos ...

    The symbol of copyright © (term in which Anglo-American legislation designates the exploitation rights) indicates that a work is subject to copyright, as well as the person or entity that owns the corresponding exploitation rights. Therefore, the author can directly place this symbol in his work (from the moment of its creation) or, in case he has granted his rights, the holder of the rights (from the time of acquiring them) .

    The exploitation rights have a maximum period during which the work can be exploited in a monopoly regime. Once this period has expired, the work is in the public domain and can be used freely by anyone (as long as its authorship and integrity are respected).

    Related, neighborly or related rights

    In addition to the aforementioned copyrights, there are other intellectual property rights (known as related, neighboring or related rights), which protect the effort and creative, technical and organizational contribution of the people or institutions that they make the works available to the public, participate in the cultural industries and in their relationship with the public.

    These rights affect artists or performers, producers of phonograms and audiovisual recordings, broadcasters, creators of mere photographs and certain publishing productions (unpublished works in the public domain and others not protected by the LPI).

    Since the law grants the exclusivity of the exploitation of the works to their authors, these can only be used with their consent (or with that of the rights holder if they have been ceded).

    However, there are some cases in which the works can be used without having to ask for permission from the corresponding rights holders (as long as their authorship and integrity are respected).

    Works in the public domain

    The works on public domain These are those whose exploitation rights have been extinguished and which, therefore, can be freely used by any person.

    As a general rule, a work is in the public domain 70 or 80 years after the death of all its authors (depending on whether it is before or after December 7, 1987), although the term varies depending on its typology. The calculation of the expiration date of these rights can be done using the following tools:

    Works that are not subject to intellectual property
    • Legal or regulatory provisions and their corresponding projects
    • Resolutions of the jurisdictional organs
    • Acts, agreements, deliberations and opinions of public bodies
    • Official translations of all previous texts
    Limits or exceptions allowed by the LPI

    The limits that allow the use of a work without having to ask for any authorization from the corresponding holder of the rights (provided that its authorship and integrity are respected) are set out in articles 31-40 of the LPI. For example, some of these limits are:

    • Private copy right
    • Right of citation and illustration in teaching
    • Right of reproduction and loan (libraries and other entities of public ownership)

      The use license is a contract that is signed between the owner of the exploitation rights of a work and the person who wants to use it. The clauses of this contract detail both the permitted uses of the works and the limitations of these uses.

      Therefore, the license allows the customer to use the work llicenciada only under the conditions agreed with the corresponding supplier. This would be the case for various information resources contracted by Bibliotècnica, the digital library of the UPC, as can be seen in the table Rules of use of information licensed.

      Open access ("open access") is an international movement that takes advantage of the Internet to make available to society the knowledge resulting from the research done by the researchers.

      • La LPI it reserves to the authors the rights of exploitation of its works and only allows to the users of the same some concrete uses like the right of citation or private copy. In the event that other uses are to be made, the express authorization of the authors and / or holders of the exploitation rights must be obtained.
      • Some authors want to facilitate the use of the works they distribute on the network in order to guarantee open access to information and knowledge. For this reason, they are made available to everyone through usage licenses of the "copyleft" type, which clearly indicate which uses can be made and under what conditions.
      • For example, licenses driven by the Creative Commons Foundation allow the reproduction, distribution and public communication of works llicenciades. Additionally, the author who wishes may also authorize other more permissive uses such as the modification and / or marketing of the same.
      • In any case, the original authors always have to cite and recognize themselves, as well as indicate clearly the conditions of the license in case the work is reused or disseminated.

      When physical activities (conferences, classes, presentations, educational tutorials, etc.) are recorded and / or disseminated, several aspects must be taken into account in order to protect their right to honor, privacy and own image


      • "Personal data are any numerical, alphabetical, graphic, photographic, acoustic or other information related to identified or identifiable physical persons" (Manual UPC of data protection, P. 6).

      • "Data processing is any technical operation or procedure, whether automated or not, that allows the collection, recording, conservation, processing, modification, consultation, use, cancellation, blocking or deletion, as well as data cessions that result of communications, queries, interconnections and transfers "(Manual UPC of data protection, P. 8).

      • Except in the cases provided for by law, the processing of personal data is only lawful when the data subject has given his consent. This consent is not required by legal obligation, public interest or exercise of public powers, as detailed in the8 article of the LOPD GDD.
      • The system for the protection of personal data is not applicable to files held by natural persons in the exercise of exclusively personal or domestic activities (art. 2.2 LOPD GDD).
      • The right to the image does not prevent graphic information about a public event or event when the image of a particular person appears as merely accessory (art. XUMUM, section c) LO 1 / 1982).
      • The right to image does not prevent the capture, reproduction or publication of images of people by any means, in the case of people who hold a public office or a profession of notoriety or public projection and the image is captured during a public act or in places open to the public (art. 8.2, section a) LO 1 / 1982).

      Recording of academic activities


      Plagiarism is the false attribution of a work or part of it. Therefore, so is the inclusion in the work itself of a part of the work of others to whom it has not been mentioned.

      Avoid plagiarism
      Protect authoring of publications


      Next, the most frequent questions related to the intellectual property of the documents deposited in the institutional repository are offered UPCommons:

      Academic work UPC
      Scientific-technical production UPC
      Teaching materials ofAtenea, the Virtual Campus of the UPC




      Last update: 12 / 04 / 2023