Our guide to copyright for students, staff and researchers.
Copyright is relevant to all staff and students whether you are creating an original work or using someone else's work.
These pages will help you understand copyright and why it's important for you to consider it in your work and studies.
Who owns copyright and how can you tell?
Copyright ownership depends on how the work was created and the format of the work. Ownership usually belongs to the creator of the work but there are exceptions where copyright ownership can be transferred, sold or waived.
Copyright can sometimes be identified by the use of a copyright symbol ©. However, this isn't a requirement of all works, so do not assume that an absence of the symbol means the work is not covered by copyright.
If copyright owners cannot be identified or found, works are referred to as 'orphan works.'
Exceptions in education and research
There are various exceptions included in UK copyright law that allow for the reuse of copyright material within education and research. Many of these are 'fair dealing' exceptions, and are based on the idea that reuse should be limited and fair.
Different use cases come with different sets of exceptions. Expand the drop-down below for details.
S29 – Research and private study
You may make single, limited copies for private study and non-commercial research. These copies are for individual use, subject to fair dealing, must not be shared on Moodle and cannot be circulated to others.
S29A – Text and data analysis for non-commercial research
You may copy works to which you have lawful access to (such as current subscriptions of the library) for the purposes of text and data mining. This is a practice that uses digital technology to identify and pull data across different platforms and databases. This is only allowed for non-commercial research.
S30 – Quotation
You may copy a small amount of a work (such as a quotation or section of written text) within fair dealing usage for the purposes of criticism, review, news reporting and quotation. An example is using quotes from a published book to support an assignment.
S30A – Caricature, parody or pastiche
You may copy a small amount of a work within fair dealing usage for the purposes of caricature, parody or pastiche. The new work must display noticeable differences to the original, and laws of discrimination and libel still apply.
- A caricature is a representation of a person that is exaggerated or simplified for comic effect.
- A parody imitates or misrepresents somebody's style, usually for humorous or satirical effect.
- A pastiche is a composition drawn from various sources, usually a musical.
S31A – Accessible copies
You may make accessible copies of copyright works for the personal use of disabled people.
Library and Learning Services Accessibility Support Service will support you with making your learning, teaching and research resources accessible to you.
For further details, please see our Supporting Accessibility pages.
S32 – Illustration for instruction
You may reproduce small amounts of copyright works for the purpose of giving or receiving instruction. An example is the use of copyright images in a presentation which is uploaded onto Moodle, or to instruct on an examination question.
S34 – Educational performance
You may perform, play or show a copyright work for the purpose of instruction in an educational establishment. Audience members can only include staff, students or people connected to the University. An example is the screening of a film in a lecture.
S35 – Recording of broadcasts
You may record off-air broadcasts for students, which also covers transmission over a secure network. This only applies to broadcasts not covered by the University's ERA licence.
S36 – Educational copying of extracts
You may copy up to 5% of a work for classroom use. This covers multiple copies and scans. This only applies to items not covered by the University's CLA licence and only 5% of a work can be copied by the University, within a 12 month period. This means the same work cannot be used for multiple modules within a year.
Some copyright exceptions are subject to fair dealing. Fair dealing is a legal term that has no statutory definition. This means that each case will require a judgement to be made to determine whether the use of a work is lawful. A court would be asked to consider how an honest and fair-minded person would regard the use of the copyrighted material.
As a university, we hold a number of licences to legitimise copying for educational use:
Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA) Licence
We subscribe to the Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA) Licence for Higher Education. The licence allows photocopying and scanning from books, journals and magazines, conference proceedings and legal publications and digital works, subject to the licence limits.
In order to comply with the terms of the licence, Library and Learning Services offers a centralised scanning service. We will check copyright clearance, scan the items, store the PDF, and make the link available on your reading list. For further information about the service, visit our Digital Scanning Service page.
Newspaper Licensing Agency (NLA) Licence
We hold an Education Establishment Basic Licence from the Newspaper Licensing Agency (NLA). This licence permits 'cuttings' to be made from print and online versions of national and regional newspapers.
Educational Recording Agency (ERA) Licence
We hold an Educational Recording Agency (ERA) Licence. This allows the recording and storage of television and radio programmes. Holding the ERA Licence allows us to subscribe to Box of Broadcasts (BoB). This enables all staff and students to record broadcast programmes from over 60 television and radio channels. Please note that under the terms of the ERA license, BoB cannot be accessed overseas.
The Higher Education Printed Music Licence (HEPML)
We subscribe to the Higher Education Printed Music Licence (HEPML). The licence applies only to staff and students on courses with a musical element (including individual modules), permitting copies of published musical works to be made and digital copies to added to the VLE.*
What the HEPML covers:
- Whole musical works can be copied in full
- Up to 10% of individual pieces in an anthology (by number of items)
- Up to 10% of a musical workbook (by number of pages)
*All copies of music (whether digital or physical) must be reported using the Higher Education Licence Data Form.
Creative Commons licences
Creative Commons is a way of licensing materials that encourages reuse and sharing, while also allowing creators to retain some rights.
Creative Commons offer 6 licences, and how people can use different works depends on which licence has been applied. The licenses work all over the world and last as long as the applicable conditions allow.
Anyone can apply a Creative Commons licence to their work. Increasingly, research and educational resources are being released open-access with Creative Commons licences.
To review the 6 licences, expand the drop-down below.
Creative Commons Attribution licence (CC BY)
This licence allows people to use, share, remix and build upon a work so long as they credit the creator of the work.
Creative Commons Attribution, ShareAlike licence (CC BY-SA)
This licence allows people to use, share, remix and build upon a work so long as they credit the creator of the work but any new versions of the work must be licensed under identical licence terms.
Creative Commons Attribution, No Derivatives licence (CC BY-ND)
This licence allows people to use and share a work so long as they credit the creator of the work, but they cannot change the work in any way.
Creative Commons Attribution, Non-Commercial licence (CC BY-NC)
This licence allows people to use, share, remix and build upon a work so long as they credit the creator of the work, but they cannot use the work for commercial purposes.
Creative Commons Attribution, Non-Commercial, ShareAlike licence (CC BY-NC-SA)
This licence allows people to use, share, remix and build upon a work so long as they credit the creator of the work, but they cannot use the work for commercial purposes and they must licence any new versions of the work under identical licence terms.
Creative Commons Attribution, Non-Commercial, No Derivatives licence (CC BY-NC-ND)
This licence allows people to use and share a work so long as they credit the creator of the work, but they cannot use the work for commercial purposes or change the work in any way.