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Home | Museums | Collections

Due diligence and Intellectual Property Rights policy

Due diligence and Intellectual Property Rights policy

Contents of Policy

1.0 Introduction
2.0 Statement of Principles
3.0 Intellectual Property Rights
4.0 Rights Management
5.0 Legal Environment
6.0 Review
Annex 1  Loans In Policy
Annex 2 Loans Out Policy

1.0 Introduction

South Lanarkshire Council’s (“the Council”) key strategic aims for its museums collections (“the Collections”) managed on its behalf by South Lanarkshire leisure and Culture  (“SLLC”) are:

1. To ensure everyone in South Lanarkshire has reasonable access to quality museum services.

2. To preserve the collections for future generations and create an effective knowledge management system.

This is achieved by undertaking the following key actions:

  • developing the Collections we hold on behalf of everyone in South Lanarkshire, creating opportunities for acquisition or loan.
  • managing the long term care and conservation of the Collections.
  • increasing the understanding of and engagement with the Collections and its subjects by bringing more of the collections into use through research, displays, exhibitions, intellectual access, publishing, information, digital and IT programmes and a higher public profile.
  • implementing a Collections Agreement between the Council and SLLC to manage and care for the Collections on the Council’s behalf
  • the grant by the Council to SLL Trading Ltd (“the Trading Company”) (in so far as the Council has the right to do so in respect of each items forming part of the Collections) a royalty-free, worldwide, non-exclusive licence (or when appropriate, sub-licences) to use, copy, reproduce and exploit the Collections’ intellectual property for education purposes, for the purpose of promoting SLLC, SLLC’s premises and South Lanarkshire and for the purpose of generating income for the Trading Company.

This policy sets out our principles regarding provenance and provenance research when considering any acquisition or inward loan and complies with the principles set out in:

  • Combating Illicit Trade: Due Diligence Guidelines for Museums, Libraries and Archives on Collecting and Borrowing Cultural Material (DCMS 2005).
  • The MA Code of Ethics.
  • Dealing in Cultural Objects (Offences) Act 2003.


  • SLLC Collections Development Policy 2018 - 2023.

2.0 Statement of Principles

The Council will not accept as a loan, gift or bequest any object without confirmation that the donor, vendor or lender has valid and legal title to the object and full powers to transfer it.

SLLC responsible for managing the Collections on behalf of the Council and residents of South Lanarkshire. SLLC will exercise due diligence to establish the legal status of objects under consideration, making every reasonable effort to investigate and clarify its provenance. In practising due diligence, SLLC will apply high standards of research into acquisitions, long term loans and exhibition loans.

In practice some objects are not always accompanied by detailed histories. In these circumstances, having taken into account information gathered through our research, best judgement and our accessioning, rights research and data entry procedures must apply.

Using best judgement, when formally acquiring an object we will extend research beyond the information supplied by the vendor, donor or lender in an effort to clarify its history. Further guidance and advice, as judged appropriate by SLLC, (whose decision as to what is appropriate, after consultation with the Council, shall be final) may be sought from external curators in other museums and galleries, specialists, academic institutions and major auction houses.

Only those objects for which provenance has been established or, through presence in the public domain, are judged to have a history that is reasonably secure, will be acquired or borrowed.

Information obtained about the provenance of an object will be documented and preserved to ensure SLLC can respond to public requests and to avoid duplication.

3.0 Intellectual Property Rights

The Council owns, generates and makes use of a range of items protected by IPR legislation. Diligent conduct in respect of these rights, as well as the protection, active use and careful development of the revenue-generating potential of the Collections, are essential to the functioning, good reputation, authority, sustainability and the achievement of our objectives.

Where materials have been created in connection with cultural content, e.g. an exhibition catalogue or text associated with the Collections, copyright in such materials created as part of employee duties shall vest in the Council.

Non-staff such as volunteers, research students, commissioned parties, freelancers and other contracted parties, by law automatically own the rights in works they have created. There will be clear statements in place regarding the ownership of such rights, and the necessary procedures required for assignments of rights, as well as training, will be followed where appropriate.

The Council reserves the right to negotiate shared ownership, permission to reuse content and explore royalty opportunities resulting from collaborative projects and initiatives.

In cases where the Council does not retain full rights, it will seek to ensure that it reserves the right to reuse the work for its own purposes and that its ability to commercially exploit the work is not unduly restricted.

4.0 Rights Management

4.1 Responsibilities

The Council is the legal entity which owns the intellectual property rights (“IPR”) of the Collections. Under a Collections Agreement, copyright licence has been granted to SLLC to act on the Council’s behalf regarding the Collections.

Individual members of staff are responsible for ensuring they act within the scope of the law, and are required to seek further advice firstly from their line managers who will seek advice from either SLLC’s solicitors or the Council’s Legal Services (as appropriate) if necessary. Responsibility for clearing rights rests with each individual project manager.

4.2 Definition

The management and documentation of the rights associated with the objects and information for which an organisation is responsible for, in order to benefit the organisation and to respect the rights of others.

Rights management is required whenever an organisation creates, acquires, borrows, lends or wants to use the Collections and material associated with them. Use can be 'internal' (e.g. conserving an object or holding information on donors) or 'external' (e.g. public facing activities such as displaying material on a website or catalogue).

The right of ownership of an object is separate from any other rights that are associated with it. When these rights are held by others, an organisation will be legally constrained as to how it can use the object, without their prior permission.

To comply with those rights the Council and SLLC has created this policy and revised documentation procedural manual that refers to the management of rights.

These procedures cover steps taken to:

  • research rights associated with works that become (or might become) the Council’s responsibility.
  • ensure the protection of the rights of the Council and the rights of others.
  • ensure the legal basis of any contractual negotiation for rights licences.
  • respond to claims to breach of rights both against and on behalf of the Council.
  • agree the Council’s use of external contractors and volunteers, and arrangement for the intellectual property rights in the work they create, for example the use of appropriate clauses within contracts.

For the purposes of this policy Rights Management will be included in all of the following procedures:

  • pre-entry of objects or other material
  • loans in and loans out
  • acquisition
  • cataloguing
  • insurance and indemnity management
  • use of Collections including research

SLLC’s procedure for managing and documenting rights associated with the Collections will:

  • take account of relevant rights legislation, and monitor changes.
  • ensure that fully documented research into all associated rights is carried out as soon as new material is acquired.
  • record full details and monitor changes, of all associated rights.
  • ensure that any contract negotiations, for the use of (IPR)is carried out, taking into account the issues of: legal entity, legal restrictions, funders' requirements and the tax situation.
  • respect the rights of others and any other third party users.
  • seek to ensure that others respect the rights of the Council.
  • ensure that there is an awareness of material sensitive to publication right (and other rights) and that any publication rights remain the Council’s property and are not accidentally lost.
  • ensure that when it creates new material it records the associated rights.
  • ensure that when commissioning works, all IPRs are assigned to the Council.

4.3 Rights Research

SLLC’s guidelines for rights research include:

  • steps the research should contain.
  • ways of contacting rights holders.
  • methods of communication.
  • any deadline with the request to a rights holder.
  • the need to document all relevant communication whether by phone, fax, e-mail, letter or person to person meeting in accordance with due diligence.

4.4 Rights Protection

The purpose of rights protection is to:

  • ensure that the rights held by others are respected by the organisation and by any other third party users.
  • seek to ensure that the rights held by the organisation are respected by others.

5.0 Legal environment

The legal environment for rights is complex and dependent on national implementations of international conventions and European directives. Therefore only a brief summary will be given here. For more information please refer to this website: The UK Copyright Service. Another useful resource for general advice is the Intellectual Property Office’s website

Since copyright usually extends beyond the lifetime of the original author, the rights that it confers will pass on to a nominated or entitled person upon the death of the original author (the author or nominated or entitled person hereinafter being referred to as “the rights holder”). This will continue until the period afforded copyright protection in law post the death of the author has elapsed. Subsequently, copyright would be deemed to have expired and permission will no longer need to be sought. However, despite the expiry of copyright, other rights may still subsist in the work (or its image) and these will require the consent of the rights holder before being the work or its image can be used.

If SLLC wishes to reproduce a work (e.g. photography, scanning) either these activities must be permitted by either (a) the terms agreed by a licence, (b) as copyright has expired, (c) the rights belong to the Council or (d) the activities are permitted under the fair dealing exceptions. If not, then permission from the copyright holder must be obtained before carrying out any reproduction. In situations where such consent cannot be obtained, (e.g. the rights holders can not be found), then SLLC in consultation with the Council may make an informed risk management decision.

There are exceptions to copyright restrictions that allow the 'limited' use of works, e.g. for non-commercial research, criticism and review ('fair dealing' exceptions). However these exceptions have limited use within the normal operations of collection-holding organisations, e.g. taking photographs for security, identification, publicity or conservation. Unless SLLC can satisfy the requirements under the exceptions that the use is also fair, then permission must always be sought.

If what is being created is so-called ‘User-Generated Content’, for example a string of e-mails from various people in a discussion thread, or material contributed by several individuals on a wiki, blog or social networking site, then complex legal issues may arise.

6.0 Review

We will regularly review policies and guidelines, especially in light of changes of legislation or changes in the activities undertaken.

This policy © of South Lanarkshire Leisure and Culture Trust Ltd 2023 has been written with reference and regard to the guidelines produced by Graham Cornish under the name ©Copyright Circle for the Museums Copyright Group and the Libraries and Archives Copyright Alliance, The National Portrait Gallery, The National Archives and the Royal Naval Museum.

Annex 1

South Lanarkshire Council Museum Service LOANS IN POLICY 2023

1.0 REASON FOR LOAN Objects will be taken on loan for a specific purpose, such as exhibitions, research, or conservation. Loans will not normally be accepted without a clear reason, unless the object is considered to be of particularly great importance. It shall be at the Council’s absolute discretion as to whether it borrows an object from any party.

2.0 CONDITIONS OF LOAN The museum service undertakes to take the same care of any object it borrows as those in its own collections. Loans in will not normally be agreed with additional conditions specified by the lender.

2.1 Authorisation of Loans In All loans in must be authorised by the Senior Museums Officer or a Museum Collections Officer.

2.2 Minimum and Maximum Length of a Loan Period The length of the loan period must be agreed by both parties in advance of its commencement. The minimum loan period is 1 month; the maximum is 5 years. The loan may be renewed upon expiration of the loan period, subject to a review of the loan.

2.3 Establishing Lenders’ Title to Objects Reasonable steps must be taken to establish that a potential lender has the legal right to lend the item. They must be made aware of the text on the Entry Form requiring them to state that they are the owner of the object.

2.4 Insurance Additional insurance will be required if the total value of objects borrowed exceeds £25,000, or if the insurance value of any individual object exceeds £10,000.


Reasonable steps will be made to contact the lender or their relatives. If there is an address, two letters by recorded delivery post where the address is in the United Kingdom will be sent reminding them to collect the item. If they cannot be traced and if after a period of three months they still have not come forward, then the object(s) will be considered ‘bona vacantia’ by South Lanarkshire Council, who will then treat the item as it deems appropriate.

Annex 2

South Lanarkshire Council Museum Service LOANS OUT POLICY 2023

1.0 REASON FOR LOAN It is at the Council’s absolute discretion as to whether:

a) an object is loaned to any party.
b) and on what terms and conditions.

The following reasons will not be considered:

  • A loan for no specific reason.
  • Any reason which could put the object at risk.
  • Any reason which would contravene SLC policy.


2.1 Conditions for Display and Storage

  • The borrower must provide in advance details of the conditions in which the object(s) will be kept.
  • The object must be kept in a secure location.
  • Environmental conditions should be suitable for the object.
  • There should be no eating, drinking or smoking in the same room as the object.
  • If not on display, the object should be made accessible for public viewing.
  • The object should not be handled by visitors, including scholars, without permission first being obtained from the officer dealing with the loan.
  • The borrowing institution's disaster response plan should be available on request.
  • The loaned object(s) will be displayed with an acknowledgement: on loan from South Lanarkshire Council.
  • South Lanarkshire Council reserves copyright and publication rights in all images issued. All material reproduced (by prior permission) must be acknowledged © by permission of South Lanarkshire Council.
  • The object(s) must not be used for marketing or public relations purposes without the permission of South Lanarkshire Council.

2.2 Categories of Objects Which May Not Normally be Loaned Out

  •  Particularly vulnerable objects.
  • Objects for which the service may not be able to prove title.
  • Objects that are integral to a permanent display.

2.3 Categories of Borrower Which Will Not Normally be Loaned to

  • Any individual or organisation who cannot produce a valid reason for borrowing the object.
  • Any person or organisation who cannot meet the environmental and security requirements of the object.
  • Anyone who does not undertake to provide insurance cover for the object.

2.4 Transport

It is the borrower's responsibility to arrange transport for the loan.

2.5 Insurance

Normally responsibility for insurance must lie with the borrower unless specifically stated to the contrary in the loan out agreement. Insurance should include cover for transport.

2.6 Commercial Borrowers

Potential commercial borrowers should be charged a hire-fee, unless real benefits through reciprocal arrangements can be demonstrated. Staff should also ensure that commercial borrowers sign any copyright permissions forms before objects are loaned.


All loans out must be authorised by South Lanarkshire Council Executive Committee.


  • Objects out on loan should be condition checked at least annually.
  • Environmental and display conditions checked at least annually.
  • Insurance and indemnity policies must be updated on or before renewal dates.


  • Loans must be for a finite period, but an application for renewal may be considered provided adequate notice is received.
  • Renewal of the loan is dependent on satisfactory monitoring and the written agreement of the lender and the borrower.
  • A copy of any further agreement should be obtained and retained.


  • Overdue loans should be pursued by the officer managing the loan, within 1 month of expiry of the loan period.
  • When an object is returned, a condition check should be completed as soon as possible and this compared with the condition report completed before the item went out on loan.

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