Frequently Asked Questions
This page addresses some of the main copyright concerns and questions which arise as a result of the everyday teaching and learning activities of the University. Further details can be accessed on the accompanying pages of the Information Policies copyright section.
Can I photocopy pages for my own use from books and journals?
Yes, you can copy extracts from most books, journals, conference proceedings and law reports as long as there is only a single copy for your own individual use, and it is within the limits set out on this copyright page:
Be aware, however, that there are works not covered by the Copyright Licensing Agency’s Licence (these are detailed on their ‘Excluded List’ posted near most photocopiers) and that recent legislation has also prohibited the copying of material for commercially related purposes.
Does this also apply to Crown Copyright material?
In the interests of transparent and open government, certain categories of Crown Copyright materials have had their copyright waived to the extent that some works can be copied without the need for having to seek formal permission. You are still required to acknowledge all sources however. For further details, please refer to:
Can I photocopy newspaper articles?
Yes, newspaper articles can be copied for private study or research purposes under a licence supplied by the Newspaper Licensing Agency (NLA). However, this does not cover the copying of photographs, illustrations or advertisements contained in newspapers and the licence only relates to UK national newspapers plus the Western Mail.
Can I scan pages of a publication or document for research or private study?
Scanning a printed article or an insubstantial part of a printed work may be acceptable as ‘fair dealing’ if, for example, the extract is scanned on to a personal computer for project or course work. However, there is no current blanket licence which specifically permits individuals to do this. For further guidelines on copying electronically see:
Can I scan part of a book, journal or graphic image and place it on a website?
No. Posting of part or all of a copyright item on a network or Internet site open to the public cannot be considered ‘fair dealing’ and may indeed be regarded as illegal re-publication. Permission must be sought from the rights holder in all cases.
Can I copy from an old or rare book?
It is possible that the work in question may be out of copyright and if this is the case you can copy from it. In most cases copyright lies with the author or their estate for 70 years after his/her death so most works published before about 1880 can be assumed to be out of copyright. However, as most works from this period and earlier are either valuable, rare, or in a delicate state you should ask Information Services staff for advice and they may be able to copy the relevant section for you.
FAQs for Students
Do I own the copyright in my own work?
In general, yes, but not if you have signed a copyright assignment passing all copyright to the University.
Am I allowed to include copyright material in my dissertation or thesis?
Copying for examination purposes and for research or private study is permitted without having to obtain prior permission from the copyright holder. As a thesis falls into both of these categories it can be assumed that the candidate may include copyright material as long as amounts used are insubstantial, and sufficient acknowledgement is provided. Permission should be obtained if you intend to reproduce substantial extracts or other copyright material such as tables, diagrams, illustrations or photographs.
Can I copy an image from a book or the internet and use it as part of a poster to advertise a club or event?
No. Before using any such images you have to obtain the permission of the copyright holder.
FAQs for Staff
Can I hand out ‘study-packs’ to students on a particular module?
Yes, you can distribute ‘course-packs’ or ‘study packs’ including extracts from books or journals to students on any given module. The extracts must not exceed the established limits for copying (i.e. 5%/one chapter/one article etc). Please note that you must not create more copies of the pack than there are students registered on a particular module. This allowance is covered by the CLA Licence and could not otherwise be argued to be ‘fair dealing’.
Does this also apply to groups of Distance Learners?
Yes. Distance Learners are also now covered by the CLA Licence.
Can I include newspaper articles in study packs?
Yes, within a limit of 250 copies. See details of the NLA licence above for other restrictions. The title of the newspaper and its date of publication should be clearly noted together with a statement declaring that it was copied under the terms of the NLA Licence.
Can I copy and distribute to my students extracts from a book/journal which I own but which is not held in the University library?
Yes, but again, within the limits as set out above. You should also bear in mind the fact that the CLA licence is not all-inclusive. Please refer to notice-boards or the CLA website (http://www.cla.co.uk/) for an up-to-date list of excluded works and a list of US Publishers covered by the licence. If you do copy from personally owned material, this cannot then be held with other photocopies in the Library’s Short Loan Collection.
Can I allow students library access to an unpublished work which I have created?
Yes. If you are certain that you are the copyright holder, an unpublished manuscript of an article or other written work may be held in the Short Loan Collection in order that students may read, take notes or copy. You would have to stipulate the extent to which students may copy from the work and lending of the work would not be possible. The material would also have to be removed in advance of publication, as in many cases the copyright would be transferred to the publisher at that stage.
Can I record broadcast television programmes and show them to a class of students?
Yes. Staff are permitted to record programmes for non-commercial educational use and show them to students under a licence from the Educational Recording Agency (ERA). All recordings must be accompanied by the following information: the date of the recording; the title of the programme; the name of the broadcaster; the words “This recording is to be used only under the terms of the ERA licence”. The licence does not allow for the adaptation or alteration of a recording, for instance, the separation of images from soundtracks. In certain circumstances recordings made under the ERA licence may be held in the library for use by students.
The University currently holds a licence to record Open University programmes but there are specific administrational requirements and payment is per programme. Please contact the Data Protection and Copyright Manager for further details.
I want to scan some diagrams and photographs and include them in my PowerPoint presentation. Is this permitted?
This is only possible if: a) you have the explicit permission of the copyright holder or b) apply to Information Services to have material scanned under the CLA Scanning Licence (See http://www.cla.co.uk/ for details to go how about doing this).
The scanning of printed material into electronic form for the purposes of non-commercial research or private study may be regarded as 'fair dealing', but this will not apply to material used for other purposes such as teaching or conference presentations.
If I use material as part of assessment do I still need copyright permission?
The Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 made special provisions for examination purposes. For the purposes of setting, communicating or answering the questions in closed exams anything may be done with copyright materials (except for music) without permission
Can I scan text or diagrams for inclusion in Blackboard or another password- protected Virtual Learning Environment?
The same principles apply here as apply to scanning material for use in Powerpoint, as outlined above, i.e. you either require the permission of the copyright holder or need to have scanned under the terms and conditions of the CLA trial scanning licence.
If I have written this article/book why can't I photocopy as much as I want of it?
Copying in these circumstances depends what you signed when you agreed to publication. In many cases you will have signed away your ownership of the copyright to the publisher. The publisher is then the rights owner who can give, or charge for, permission to make copies beyond what is allowed under law or licence. If you haven’t signed anything you should still assume that the copyright of a journal article lies with the publisher until you have established otherwise.