How do researchers negotiate and navigate the legal landscape in the United Kingdom in order to obtain and use materials for creative and transformative use? We explore how arts and humanities researchers engage with copyright during the research process and in the production of creative works and what copyright-related challenges emerge. We use findings from a pilot project titled Copyright and Publicly-Funded Arts and Humanities Research, in which we examined six academic research projects as case studies in order to highlight two types of challenges: (1) the challenges faced by arts and humanities researchers in accessing material held in archives that is both in and out of copyright; and (2) challenges posed by the exceptions to copyright during research processes. We conclude, consistent with the existing albeit limited empirical research on copyright exceptions, that arts and humanities researchers find the copyright framework in the UK to be challenging in practice, especially in their pursuit to develop innovative and transformative research.