FAQs - Copyright

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about copyright and resources.

Tes Author Team

copyright advice


Note: Information contained within these pages is intended as general guidance only. This information is not intended to be, and should not be, relied upon as legal advice. If you have any questions regarding copyright, you should consult a legal adviser specialising in intellectual property law.

What is copyright?

Copyright protects an author’s ownership rights to their work. It can exist in different types of works, including texts, images, photographs, art, poetry, plays, music and films. Copyright can, therefore, exist in resources uploaded to the Tes Resources platform.

Subject to certain exceptions, copyright entitles the copyright owner to control the use and distribution of a protected work by any other persons, whether it is a whole work that is used or just a substantial part. They can sometimes do this by sharing a piece of work under a certain licence.

After a certain period of time, copyright expires and works go into the public domain. Any person can use a work in the public domain without obtaining the prior consent of the original owner.

This website discusses copyright under English law. You will need to ensure that you comply with the copyright laws of any other countries in which you upload or download resources.

What does copyright mean for my resources?

It means that you must check that you own the copyright to all content in your resources before you upload them to Tes Resources. If you do not own the copyright, then you must:

  • either obtain the prior consent from the copyright owner to upload them
  • or ensure that you can rely on certain permitted uses under applicable law

Please familiarise yourself with our updated content standards and guidance on licensing along with our terms. Otherwise, you could be liable for infringing the copyright of another person.

Does copyright apply to both free and premium resources?

Yes. Copyright laws apply to anything you upload and share on the Tes platform as your resources become accessible to others. There are some differences in what you can share for commercial and non-commercial purposes, so it is important to check the licence for each individual piece of work you want to use. Some images, for example, may be available for download and use in non-commercial projects, so you might be able to include these in your free resources. Others, however, might be licenced for personal use only, which means that you cannot use them at all in any of the work you upload on Tes. 

Resources shared under Creative Commons licences will be restricted for reuse depending on the type of licence chosen.

Does copyright apply to my shop name and profile picture?

Yes. Certain short phrases are trademarked, which means that you cannot use them as your shop name. When you set up your own shop, you should use a name that is, to the best of your knowledge, unique to you. This will not only help you as far as copyright is concerned, but it will also make you stand out among other resource developers who have a similar name. Read more about this in the Author Academy.

The same rule applies to your profile picture, shop image and resource cover images. It is important to ensure the images used are not another party’s logos or images that are copyright protected.

How can I register my work under copyright?

Once you make and share a resource, it is automatically copyright protected under international law. However, many authors use the international copyright symbol along with their name and date when the resource was created to further protect their work (for example, © Suzy Adams 2018). It is also good practice to notify the downloader or purchaser about the licence under which your resource is shared. Read more about licences on Tes here. Finally, another good idea is to add a credit page at the end of your resource. This will let downloaders know exactly how they can and cannot use your resource.

What licences can I choose from when I share resources on Tes?

When uploading resources on the Tes platform, you can choose whether you want to share them for free or make them available for purchase. In each case, it is important to be clear about how you want people to use your resource.

We ask that every free resource uploaded to the Tes site is given a Creative Commons licence. Creative Commons is a public copyright licence created to support the spirit of sharing for free in an open internet. The use of a Creative Commons licence means an author can give people the right to share, use and build upon a resource that they have created. There are lots of CC licences to choose from, but we have decided to offer the three that best apply to your resources.

Premium resources are shared under our Tes Teaching Resource Licence. You can read more about this licence here.

Can I use images in my resources?

It is important to always check the licence under which an image is shared so that you know how you are allowed to reuse it. Read more about sourcing content here.


Can I use videos in my resources?

When adding your own video to a resource, it is good to remember that permission needs to be obtained for all the elements of that video (e.g images, audio, etc). If you are using a video by someone else, make sure you have permission. If you are using a publicly available video that is being freely shared, it is better to link to or embed that video - downloading it and uploading it again can breach its licence. Read more about sourcing content here.

Can I ever quote from or use text created by others in my resources?

In most cases, you may need permission from the original creator of the work in order to use it in your resource. This also involves text you can find on the internet, such as in blogs or an online newspaper. In cases where you want to create a resource based on a text, it’s best to redirect teachers to the source by providing the name of the text or a link to the original website where the text can be found.

Nevertheless, sometimes you can use the work of others under the fair dealing exception, provided the owner of the work is acknowledged. Below are some examples to help you along the way.


You can quote from works to which you do not own copyright without obtaining permission, but only if the extent of the quotation is not more than is required for your specific purposes.

As a rule of thumb, this means that you can usually use one or two lines from a poem, or a couple of sentences from a novel, in the resource that you are creating. But you cannot copy the entire poem or the whole (or even a chapter) of the book.

Please note that the United Kingdom Intellectual Property Office has indicated that this exception is unlikely to apply to the use of photographs.


You can use extracts from the work of others in order to criticise or review, without obtaining the owner’s permission. For example, if you want to criticise or review someone else’s teaching materials, you could copy an extract of the work in question to prove a point that you want to make, but you cannot copy the whole work of the other person.  

How about if I scan pages from a book that I have? Can I do that?

The short answer is usually no. Read more about sourcing content here.

So, how much text can I use?

As mentioned above, for works that are copyright-protected, only a short piece of text can be used, such as a couple of sentences or lines. See the section 'Can I ever quote from or use text created by others in my resources?' above for more information.

How can I attribute a source?

Usually when attributing the owner of a work, there are three main things that need to be included:

  • The title of the work

  • The creator’s name

  • If possible, a link to the original website where the work can be found.

In some cases, such as in images, you might also want to add the licence under which the image is shared.

All Creative Commons licences require attribution. The easiest way to do this properly is by using a browser plug-in which is available here.

For further guidance on how to attribute material correctly visit: https://wiki.creativecommons.org/Best_practices_for_attribution

Can I download other authors’ resources and then sell them on the Tes platform?

The short answer is that it depends on how much you 'changed' the initial work.

If your work is a copy of all or a substantial part of the initial work (eg, you just changed colours or names, or you simply moved a few things around, but you didn't change the structure or the main theme or important aspects of the initial work), then you likely cannot do this without the prior consent of the copyright owner of the initial work.

However, you might be able to do this if you simply took inspiration from the initial work but then created a completely new work, independently, which is not a copy of all or a substantial part of the initial work.

The test as to whether a work is a substantial copy of another will ultimately depend on the individual circumstances of each case, taking into account the quantity of content that has been copied but also the quality of the content that has been copied.  In most cases where an author allows their resource to be downloaded and resold, they also ask to be given attribution. See the section 'How can I attribute a source?' above for more information.

I have seen a resource that has a similar idea to mine on the Tes Resources platform. Does this violate my copyright?

Copyright protects the expression of an idea, but not the idea itself. This means that if you have an idea for a great teaching plan, it will only become protected by copyright once it is recorded in writing (or otherwise). It would not be protected by copyright if it was simply in your head and you told someone else about it orally. Similarly, if another author has been inspired by your idea and has created a different resource that does not closely resemble yours in content, this does not violate your copyright.

In the case of a literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work, or other written work, the work also has to be original, which (broadly speaking) means that its author spent independent effort to create it and did not copy it from other works.

Note that you cannot stop someone who has independently, and without copying your work, created the same or a substantially similar work to yours. In this situation, both those works would be protected by copyright in their own right and each copyright owner could prevent others from copying his/her protected work.

Can you check my resources for copyright infringement?

Unfortunately, we can neither check individual resources for copyright infringement, nor are we qualified to help you with such matters. Tes is a hosting platform, and the responsibility to ensure the content uploaded is non-infringing lies within the creator of each resource. We cannot give any legal advice and we cannot comment on individual circumstances.

If, after reading the information of this website, you are unsure as to whether there may be a copyright issue with any of your resources, we suggest that you contact your line manager and/or seek legal advice.  

I’ve seen a resource that is infringing. Can I report it?

If you have seen a resource that infringes your copyright, please follow the instructions outlined in our Takedown Policy for copyright infringement claims. The Copyright Policy also sets out information as to what to do if your resources have been taken down due to an alleged copyright infringement.

You can find more FAQs about licensing and copyright here.

Why was my resource taken down but a similar one wasn’t?

There are several reasons why a resource might not be taken down even if you think it is infringing. Firstly, as a hosting platform, Tes is unable to police all content uploaded on the website. This means that action against infringing resources is taken when these are brought to our attention following the procedure outlined in our Takedown Policy. Furthermore, though resources might contain seemingly infringing material, it is possible that permission for use of this material has been obtained by the authors. Therefore, resources are taken down on an individual basis.

Does copyright last forever?

No. A good rule of thumb is that most copyright expires 70 years after the author's death, but this is not always the case. This means that most things published before the 20th century should be in the public domain and therefore free to use. However, it is always best to check this before using anything that doesn't belong to you.

Where can I read more about copyright?

You can read more in the following links:

Tes Terms & Conditions: https://www.tes.com/terms/terms-and-conditions#item-3665

Additional Terms specifically applied to resources: https://www.tes.com/terms/additional-terms-tes-resources-and-tes-teach-formerly-blendspace

Content standards: https://www.tes.com/terms-conditions/content-objections#contentstandards

Resource and Licence FAQs: https://www.tes.com/help/copyright-and-resource-licences-faq

Tes Takedown Policy: https://www.tes.com/us/takedown-policy

You can find more on UK intellectual property laws in the following links: