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Copyright - Lecturer's Guide

A guide for lecturers on what they can legally copy for students

A brief summary for lecturers

For a basic introduction to copyright legislation, click on Copyright - Basic Principles

Teaching staff can make single copies of material for their own personal use under the same limitations as students and can refer to the Student's Guide What can I copy? for the details. The only exception is the ERA licence, which also gives teaching staff a right to copy broadcasts for educational use.

Teaching staff may, in some instances, also wish to make multiple copies for classes or groups of students, but this area is governed by the Copyright Licensing Agency licence (for printed text) and the ERA licence (for our recordings of TV and radio broadcasts) - you should read below for more information. 

Also, note the section on Electronic copyright - there is no automatic right to make multiple copies from databases and web pages.

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The CLA Licence

The University is covered by the CLA (Copyright Licensing Agency) licence for copying printed material. 

This gives lecturers or students the rights to make multiple photocopies of books and journals, 
the items are covered by the CLA licence. For further information, please read the CLA website's What can be copied? section.

Not all publishers are covered by the licence - click here to see the CLA's list of excluded works. A publisher who is not covered by the licence should be contacted directly. If in any doubt whatsoever, please contact Russell Kennedy in Library and Learning Services for advice, before you embark on copying material. 

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Multiple photocopies

Photocopying Books and Journals

What is permitted?

If the original book or journal is covered by the CLA licence (click here for works **excluded** from the licence), then you (or your students) are permitted to make multiple photocopies, on the premises of the university, of:

  • one chapter or extract(s) totalling 5% of a book, whichever is greater
  • one article of a journal or set of conference proceedings
  • no more than 10 pages of any poem or short story in an anthology
  • no more than one copy per student and member of staff on the course

Also note the CLA licence is only valid for registered students and not ' recipients of instruction on short-term courses delivered on a cost recovery basis and in return for a fee and which are not included in the UCAS brochure'. In the case of such courses, you would have to apply direct to the publisher for copyright clearance.

What if a book or journal is not covered by the CLA licence?

If a work is excluded from the licence, or you wish to copy more than outlined in the rules above, then you should contact the publisher directly and ask for permission from them.

There is also a right, under s.36 of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988, for an educational establishment to make copies 'passages' from works **excluded** from the CLA licence, but this should only be brief quotes, no more than 1% of the work during any quarter of the year. 

Contact Russell Kennedy in Library and Learning Services with any queries. 

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Photocopying UK Legislation and Parliamentary Material

The main body of material covered by Parliamentary copyright is:

  • Hansard
  • the Weekly Information Bulletin and Commons Public Bill and SI lists
  • parliamentary papers, eg. Command Papers, Reports of Select Committees

You may make single copies of all the above for personal use. Educational institutions may make mutliple copies of extracts of the above, not exceeding 30% or a single chapter of the original work, whichever is larger.

Crown Copyright on legislation has been waived, ie.:

  • Acts of the United Kingdom Parliament and the Northern Ireland Assembly
  • Statutory Instruments including those made by the National Assembly for Wales.
  • Statutory Rules of Northern Ireland;
  • Explanatory Notes to Acts of the United Kingdom Parliament and the Northern Ireland Assembly;
  • Measures of the General Synod of the Church of England.

UK legislation can be copied, therefore, with the following caveats laid out in the HMSO guidance s.12-13:

  1. all reproduction of the Material should be made from an Official version, ie. a copy of the text published by the government in print or on a web site
  2. the Material must be reproduced accurately
  3. care should be taken that the Material reproduced is from the current or up to date version, and that out of date Material is not presented as though it was current
  4. the Material should not be used in a derogatory or misleading manner, nor should it be used for the purposes of advertising or promoting a particular product or service or for promoting particular personal interests or views
  5. the reproduced versions of Material should not be presented in a way which could imply it has Official status or that they are endorsed by any part of government
  6. the Royal Arms and all publisher imprints which are featured on the Official versions of the Material should be removed from any copies of the Material which are issued or made available to the public. This includes use of the Material on the Internet and on Intranet sites
  7. the Material is acknowledged appropriately

For any other government material, you may assume that 'fair dealing' means you can copy up to 5% for private research or study (ie not multiple copies). You may also wish to to consult the web page

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Photocopying Newspaper Articles 

The Newspaper Licensing Agency (NLA) blanket licence held by UEL covers the following papers:

  • Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday
  • Evening Standard
  • Express
  • Daily Star
  • Financial Times
  • Guardian
  • Observer
  • Independent and Independent on Sunday
  • Mirror and Sunday Mirror
  • People
  • Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph
  • Times and Sunday Times

The licence permits:

  • photocopying 'on plain paper (or otherwise with a view to their projection by illumination on to a screen)' and faxing but not electronic copying
    nb. scanning to rearrange material is permitted (only) for 'instruction in the art of alternative page layout as part of a media studies course'
  • no copying of photographs or advertisements
  • only for 'internal management or educational purposes'; not to be photocopied again or distributed to anyone who is not a UEL member of staff or student; our current licence fee is also predicated on the fact we do not operate an internal clipping service of newspaper articles
  • 250 copies per article
  • if not for personal use (ie. to be shown to staff or students) then must be 'prominently endorsed' with a notice in 6pt font or larger reading:

"With permission, copied from [title] dated [date]"

Copying from other press sources is not covered but it is likely that no more than one copy of a small article per newspaper, used for research or private study, might be considered 'fair dealing' under UK legislation; as always with fair dealing, there is no clear definition and one should err on the side of caution. For any substantial copying, one would have to contact the copyright holder (assume this is the newspaper, although it may occasionally turn out to be a freelance author).

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Copying for Visually Impaired Students

Any material covered by the CLA licence may be enlarged for visually impaired students or staff if:

  • The university owns one copy of original publishers work which is available to other students
  • Material is not available in large print format
  • No commercial publication or sale of the enlarged copies
  • Copies logged with CLA during any CLA survey

The number of copies must not be any more than required for purposes of instruction.

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Placing material in Short Loan

Original items in the University's collection, if covered by the CLA licence (click here to see the CLA's list of excluded works), may be copied and placed in short loan but each item must contain a cover sheet identifying material copied, course of study on which it will be used and a statement of how it was obtained. The amount of material copied must not exceed normal restrictions of the CLA licence (5% of a book, one journal article). 

Copied items may also be placed in short-loan if:

  • copyright has been waived
  • they are copyright-fee paid copies from the British Library Document Supply Centre or another copyright-fee paid document supplier, provided the original cover sheet is attached
  • permission has been obtained from the rights holder

All these items can then be further copied by students, under the normal restrictions that apply to original texts. 

HOWEVER, please note the following:

  • Copies originally obtained by staff or students for personal use cannot be placed in short loan

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Copying for examinations or instruction

Any copying done for 'the purposes of an examination by way of setting questions, communicating the questions to the candidates or answering the questions' is not a breach of copyright. This does not mean such material can be retained in past papers. The one exception is reprographic copies of musical works, which are not permitted for a performance as part of an examination.

Someone 'giving or receiving instruction' within an educational institutional may also make a copy of a literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work but it must be:

  • not by reprographic means (ie. by hand, not photocopied or scanned)

Also, 'Copyright in a sound recording, film, broadcast or cable programme is not infringed by its being copied by making a film or film sound-track in the course of instruction, or of preparation for instruction, in the making of films or film sound-tracks, provided the copying is done by a person giving or receiving instruction'. 

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Photocopying of artistic works

This is covered in the student's guide - click here.

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Recording radio and television (ERA)

We subscribe to the ERA licence (Educational Recording Agency) which permits us to copy radio, TV and Cable TV broadcasts where copyright is held by the following organisations: 

  • The Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society Ltd
  • BBC Worldwide Ltd
  • The Design and Artists’ Copyright Society Ltd
  • Channel Four Television Corporation
  • The Mechanical Copyright Protection Society Ltd
  • Channel 5 Broadcasting Ltd
  • British Actors’ Equity Association
  • The Independent Television Network Ltd
  • The Incorporated Society of Musicians
  • Sianel Pedwar Cymru
  • The British Phonographic Industry Ltd
  • The Musicians’ Union

For works where copyright is held by the above organisations or their members, the licence permits recording off-air (ie. not showing live):

  • as many copies as required can be recorded by teachers or employees; digital recording is permitted
  • only covers copying broadcast material where copyright held by the named organisations (and not copying of material sold in shops or lent from a library or rented or borrowed from elsewhere)
  • extracts or part of a programme can be recorded; extracts can be compiled from different programmes to one tape, but no adaptation, alteration or mutilation, including no separation of soundtrack, commentary etc; credits should also be included wherever possible
  • educational use only; not to be shown to fee paying audiences or non-registered students; not for entertainment or administrative purposes
  • recordings can be made on-site or at home by staff or designated third party
  • all tapes must be labelled showing date, time, title and the statement ‘This Recording is to be used only under the terms of the ERA Licence’
  • includes all broadcast, including films and advertisements; the one exception is that the licence does not include Open University programmes
  • copies recorded after 1st Aug 1989 can be retained indefinitely if ERA licence held, earlier copies depend on previoius licence held
  • librarians borrowing/lending with other ERA licence holders is permitted; tapes may be copied for other licence holders but any charge, if made, must only be to recoup costs; nb. public libraries are not ERA licence holders
  • copies may be lent to students but they must sign written declaration that use is for educational purpose; ERA advises against such lending, as it leads to non-educational use at home

The legislation permits educational institutions to record one copy of any 'broadcast or cable programme' for educational purposes UNLESS it falls under a licensing scheme. The ERA does not cover cable and satellite broadcasts, and therefore these may also be copied freely for educational use.

It is, of course, legal to record TV programmes at home for private use (and, indeed, to take photographs from said programmes for private use

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Electronic Copyright

The law relating to electronic copyright is not yet well-defined but similar principles apply as for paper copies. If you cannot copy something in paper format, you generally have no right to reproduce it electronically. Please contact Russell Kennedy in Library and Learning Services if you have a question.

Downloading and Printing from Databases

The precise rules for using a database will generally be part of a licence agreement with the publisher. You may well be able to view the licence on a help screen of a CD-ROM database or, if a web-based product, on the web site.

It is worth noting, however, that legislation states:

'Fair dealing with a database for the purposes of research or private study does not infringe any copyright in the database provided that the source is indicated.' 

This means that extracting or re-utilising an 'insubstantial part' of the database contents (ie downloading, saving offline or printing off) is permissible under the Act, provided:

  • it is for private research or study (ie. not commercial use)
  • the source is indicated

This is regardless of what is stated in the licence or copyright notice for using the database. HOWEVER this does not include the downloading or printing of 'substantial' extracts or creating multiple copies for the use of others. Note that there is no clear definition of 'substantial' or 'insubstantial' in the legislation and that, therefore, any copying may be an infringement of copyright.

Lecturers may also extract, but not 're-utilise', (this probably means you may print off or display on a screen) a 'substantial part' of a database's contents if:

  • it is extracted for the purpose of illustration for teaching or research and not for any commercial purpose
  • the source is indicated.

although this provision may be rescinded by the publisher's licence and does not cover multiple copies.

See also the Copyright and Rights in Databases Regulations 1997 act.

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Emails and Bulletin Board Postings

Emails and Bulletin Board Postings are the copyright of the author.

Admittedly, prosecution is unlikely to follow copying of emails since there will rarely be any financial loss to the author or question of moral rights (eg. being recognised as the author, not having the email presented in a defamatory context). It would NOT, however, be acceptable to distribute multiple copies of an original work via email, or by printing off from email, without permission.

On a separate issue, emails can easily be libellous; there is insufficient space to discuss this here, but you are advised not to write or forward emails which may be defamatory to an individual or organisation.

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Scanning/digitising documents 

The Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA)licence covers photocopying, scanning and digital re-use, also allow internal emailing of copies and limited storage on a secure intranet. Copies can be made of up to a chapter, entire article or 5% of the publication, whichever is the greater. Photographs, illustrations, diagrams or charts may also be copied where they are included in the body of the extract or article. 

To comply with CLA regulations, from 1st August 2010 all scanning requests for the UEL Print Centre need to be requested by a Scanning Request form, which you can access here. A copy of the request will also go the the Library to keep a record of the scanning requests for the CLA.

After submission of the form - and once details have been checked and approved, the following steps need to be followed :

  • Sign the copyright notice, which goes in front of the digitised material
  • Send in the copyright notice with the items requested to be scanned via internal mail or drop off in person  (Print Centre, Room EBG.12, Docklands Campus)
  • If requested it may then be incorporated into the relevant course in UELPlus

If you have further questions, please email  the Print Centre.

If you have questions regarding copyright or exempted material, please contact the Copyright Team.

Please note: It might be acceptable under the legislation to scan onto a PC a 'not substantial' part of a text for private research or study (ie. perhaps the normal 5% or one chapter of a book, one journal article). 'Fair dealing' in digitisation is not well-established, however, (fair dealing is the legal principle under which some copying for private study is allowed) and the ease with which digital copies can proliferate means that publishers are unlikely to accept any digitisation is 'fair dealing'.  Certainly, placing such a copy on a network or the Internet, for staff and students to access, would be a breach of copyright. 

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All software is copyright and your use of software is generally governed by a licence agreement with the rights holder.

The only instance in which software may be copied without explicit permission is:

  • a genuine backup copy
  • decompiling to the extent necessary to achieve inter-operability of an independently created program with other programs

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Web pages - creating your own web sites and electronic resources

It is important to bear in mind that scanning/digitising copyright material from third parties (eg. articles from journals), for students or staff to access via the web, is a breach of copyright. In such cases, you must first get copyright clearance (contact Russell Kennedy in Library and Learning Services) for further information.

On a separate issue, web pages can easily be a source of libel; there is insufficient space to discuss this here, but you are advised not to copy or publish material which may be defamatory to an individual or organisation.

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Web pages - using other people's web sites

Web pages and their components (eg. graphics, photographs) are copyright of the author(s) or publisher, in exactly the same way as any 'literary' or 'artistic' work under UK legislation.

You should check for a copyright notice on the web page/web site and, unless copyright has been explicitly waived, you should get written permission to copy. Even if copyright is waived, there will generally be some conditions (for instance, see the guidance on reproducing UK legislation under If you cannot get permission, do not copy. As with scanning (above) the application of 'fair dealing' to Internet sites has not been established and you are advised NOT to 'cut and paste' whole pages or sections of pages without permission.

The law about appropriate use of hyperlinks is not well defined. You should, ideally, contact the author of a web site before creating hyperlinks to it. You are not advised to link to sections of a web site out of their original context, since this may lead to misrepresentation or misuse of the content, which can lead to prosecution. As a rule of thumb, we suggest that all links are set to open in a new window.

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Performance/Playing of Copyright Works

Performance of literary, dramatic or musical works, or playing of film, TV or sound recordings is legal if done 'for the purposes of instruction' (ie. in an educational context) within an educational institution. This does not mean, however that illegal copies of said works can be used - simply that the performance of the works is not an infringement in itself ; copies of the works must be legally purchased or obtained. Any performances open to the public (ie. not just students or staff) or for profit would not be considered 'for the purposes of instruction'. 

It is also permitted to read or recite a 'reasonable extract' from a literary or dramatic work in public, if it is appropriately acknowledged, but this is unlikely to be a good defence if the performance is done for profit.

It is also permitted to show TV broadcasts in public, providing there is no charge for watching or for letting people into the relevant room or building to watch.  

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