Frequently Asked Questions

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.

General FAQs

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 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 relating to the Open Government Licence, 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).  Copies can also be supplied to registered students on a course but digital content must not be stored electronically for more than 28 days

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 a 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 1890 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.  However, there are circumstances in which some students may have worked collaboratively with staff or have been funded by bodies which acquire some rights over the work.  Various parties may share the copyright in these instances.  The University will also expect you to make your work available for photocopying, electronic copying, lending and inclusion within the institution’s electronic repository

Am I allowed to include copyright material in my dissertation or thesis?

Copying for examination purposes and for assessment is permitted without having to obtain prior permission from the copyright holder. This broadly covers theses and dissertations. However, successful PhD candidates are expected to submit their works for inclusion within the University’s electronic repository, CADAIR, and this subsequent publication of their work is not covered.  Therefore, those submitting PhDs are expected to seek sufficient permission for inclusion of third party copyright material in their work, or otherwise highlight those instances where permission has not been sought or granted so that appropriate action can be taken. Short quotes would not normally require permission, but clear and accurate acknowledgement of the source should always be included.

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 explicit 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 ( for an up-to-date list of excluded works..

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.

Can I upload onto a VLE/Blackboard a programme I’ve downloaded from an on-demand service (e.g. iPlayer/4 on demand)

On-demand services are covered by the ERA Licence which allows the viewing of this material in classes and lectures. However, in most cases, third parties have imposed restrictions on the actual recording of this material and the broadcasting companies have subsequently had to impose control by Digital Rights Management protection (DRM).  Unfortunately there is little non-DRM material available (some can be found on 4OD and iPlayer) and breaking DRM protection is illegal.  If recordings are still being made available by the broadcaster you can link to the recording itself from within Blackboard.

Can I upload film I’ve bought on DVD?

This will almost certainly not be permissible without the explicit permission of the relevant rightsholder

Can I upload a documentary I’ve bought on DVD?

Similarly, unless made available with a special licence, such as a Creative Commons Licence, you will not be able to upload this sort of material without permission from the rights holder.

Can I upload something I’ve purchased from iTunes or similar?

No.  But you may play music in a lecture, seminar or tutorial provided that your audience consists only of students or academic staff and the music is for the purposes of instruction.

I want to scan some diagrams and photographs and include them in my PowerPoint presentation. Is this permitted?

Single graphs or diagrams for review may be included, but anything more than this would require either: a) the explicit permission of the copyright holder or b) application  to Information Services to have material scanned under the CLA Scanning Licence (See 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 for 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.