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Explaining aspects of copyright to be aware of when studying, lecturing or undertaking research. Please note that information on these pages is for guidance only: it does not constitute formal legal advice.


This page explains what it is permissible for staff to do in terms of photocopying and scanning for educational purposes, under the terms of the Copyright Licencing Agency (CLA) Higher Education Licence that City holds.

Staff should not prepare or distribute scanned extracts of copyright-protected material outside the terms of the licence without seeking permission, otherwise there is a serious risk of infringing copyright law.

If you have any queries relating to this, please direct them to the Digitisation Team.


A word cloud about copyright, prominent related terms are Use, copyrighted, work, fair, community, material, years

What the CLA Licence permits for digital course readings and course packs

Copying described above must be done in accordance with the terms of the CLA licence, the most important of which are:

  • The copy must be made from an original copy of the book or journal which is owned by City, or from a Copyright-Fee Paid photocopy obtained from the British Library.
  • These copies can only be made for City students or members of staff; scanned copies must be made available on a secure network. At City this is Reading Lists Online (not Moodle). Using Reading Lists rather than Moodle allows Library Services to keep track of what has been made available and that it has been done legally. This is necessary as we are required to report all digitised readings that are made available to the CLA.
  • The material must be covered by the Licence which the University holds with the Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA). Coverage can be checked on the 'Check Permissions' tool on the CLA website.

Please note:

  • Please do not make digitised readings available yourselves via Moodle, where they have been made under the CLA licence, because of the reporting requirement mentioned above.
  • If an extract from a book or journal issue has already been digitised for a module, another extract from the same publication cannot be made available in a course pack for the same module if this will exceed 10%.
  • With course packs, the number of copies that can be made is no more than one copy for each student on the course of study plus one copy for the tutor.

Scanning (Digital Course Readings) and Photocopying for Course Packs

Scanning (Digital Course Readings) and Photocopying for Course Packs

  • Digital Course Readings
    • Scans for sharing with students can only be made under the terms of the University's CLA Licence (PDF, 154 KB). This permits, subject to the conditions outlined above, most printed copyright material published in the UK, some from the USA and certain other international territories (see the 'Notes' box below) to be made available in digital format to students in a controlled way, normally via Reading Lists Online.
    • Only authorised members of staff (in the Digitisation Team) may make digital copies of this kind. Academic staff wanting to make digital copies of book chapters or journal articles available to their students should see information about the Library's digital course readings service, which works in conjunction with Reading Lists. Please also contact your Subject Librarian for further information.
  • Course packs: course packs may be compiled but must ensure that they comply with the terms of the CLA licence (again, see below about what the CLA licence permits in terms of the amount that can be scanned, etc.). See the Good Practice Guide (Course packs) (PDF, 671 KB) on the CLA website.

Please note:

  • If a publication is not covered for copying under the terms of the CLA licence, then the law allows a more limited amount to be copied (up to 5%) to make available to students (this is subject to Fair Dealing). It is necessary to obtain permission from the rightsholder to copy and make available any more than this.
  • Material from electronic resources is generally not made available as digitised readings (although there can be exceptions to this). Links should be provided to these instead.

Textbook substitution

Note that students should be expected to purchase their own copies of certain essential texts. CLA-licensed digital course readings or course packs should not be used as an alternative to this. If you are unsure, please see the CLA User Guidelines (PDF, 3.2 MB) (p15) or contact the Digitisation team for advice.

Commercial Use

The CLA Licence permits material to be photocopied and scanned under the terms listed above provided this is only for educational purposes. Copies for commercial use (for example, for collaborative research projects within the University) may be made under certain clearly-defined circumstances. These are detailed on page 12 of the CLA's user guidelines (PDF, 3.2 MB).


  1. The Licence permits scanning from most material published in the U.K., Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Hong Kong, Iceland, Ireland, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland or Turkey and some material published in the USA. This list is subject to change.
  2. The Licence permits photocopying from most material published in the UK, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Barbados, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Iceland, India, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Luxembourg, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, and the USA. This list is subject to change.
  3. To see if a particular book or journal is covered, paste its ISBN, ISSN or title into the CLA's 'Check Permissions' tool.
  4. The Licence does not cover some types of material, for example newspapers, maps or printed music.
  5. The Licence does not usually authorise the reproduction and distribution of native digital material, e.g. electronic journals and material available on the Internet.

Credit for image on this page

'Copyright Wordle' by teachingsagittarian (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) Accessed from Flickr 09/07/2015