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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 "quick reference" section of the guide offers brief, top level information for lecturers, but you are urged to follow the links to find greater detail and explanation.

Main Copyright Durations

  • Life of author + 70 years (literary/dramatic/musical/artistic works).
  • 25 years (typographical layout for new edition of out-of-copyright work)
  • See the 'What is copyright' section of this guide for others.

Fair Dealing (for permitted copying)

  • Allows approximately 5-10% of a work to be copied for specific, defined uses, such as education, research, and private study.
  • No legal definition or guidance; amount copied must be considered on case-by-case basis.
  • Copying must be for non-commercial use.
  • See the How to copy legally section of this guide for more detail.

Main Exceptions (copying for reasons permitted by law)

  • Illustration for instruction, Criticism and review, Illustration of points; all subject to fair dealing (follow this link for further explanation).
  • NB: acknowledgement is essential unless not reasonably practicable, including in Powerpoint presentations.

Disability exception

Digital Course Readings

  • The Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA) licence allows us to legally digitise extracts from books/journals for student access using a secure network, under certain circumstances, the most important of which are:
    • 10% of book/journal issue, or one chapter from book or journal issue (whichever is greater)
    • We must own a copy or have a copyright-cleared copy from another library
    • The publication must be covered by the CLA licence – coverage can be checked on the CLA website
    • See Digital Course Readings webpage for more details, or contact the Digitisation team
  • These must be requested (by yourselves or your Subject Librarian) and made available via Reading Lists Online.
  • NB Moodle: Please do not make digitisations of published material available on Moodle unless you are certain that you have permission, you own the copyright, or copyright has expired. Unless these are the case, the process for making digital copies of published material available to students must be centrally managed by Library Services (see first bullet point above), as we are required to keep records and report to the CLA what has been made available.
  • See the Moodle section of this guide for more information about copyright and Moodle.

Use of images

  • Main points are below; see the Copying images for instructional purposes section of this guide for more detail.
  • Photographs, illustrations, diagrams or charts can be copied from publications covered by the CLA licence (e.g., for presentations or handouts) - coverage can be checked on the CLA website. Images must be acknowledged and labelled as copied under the terms of the CLA licence if appearing out of context of original text. Guidance on how to do this can be found in the CLA Licence section of this Guide.
  • Images from other publications may be used under the ‘Illustration for instruction’ exception, but be careful that they are not a significant proportion of the publication.
  • Standalone images (i.e., that are not part of another publication) will need permission to use, unless they are licensed with a Creative Commons licence - such images may be sourced from Flickr, Google, and other websites (see the Copyright for Specific Resources section for examples).


  • The Educational Recording Agency (ERA) Licence allows broadcasts from ERA members (e.g., BBC, ITV, Channels 4 and 5, Open University) to be copied, e.g., for purposes of lecture capture, and for making available on Moodle. More information is available from the ERA website.
  • NB: broadcasts may not be made available outside the UK.


  • Important note: Please do not make digitisations of published material available on Moodle unless you are certain that you have permission, you own the copyright, or copyright has expired. Unless these are the case, the process for making digital copies of published material available to students must be centrally managed by Library Services. See the Moodle section of this guide for more information.
  • Linking to material on websites is usually permissible if the site is reputable (e.g., not hosting published papers without publishers' permission).
  • Digital copies of DVDs may not be made available via Moodle without the rightsholder's permission.
  • See also information on Lecture Capture below.

Lecture Capture – if the lecture recording is to be put on Moodle:

  • Please ensure that copyrighted material is removed unless the material is covered by the CLA Licence, one of the exceptions described in the 'Main Exceptions' part of this section applies, or permission has been obtained from the rightsholder.
  • If a substantial proportion of a film is used, this must be removed from the recording unless it was a broadcast output of the Educational Recording Agency Licence Scheme (see ERA website for more details), although note that such a broadcast must not be made available outside the UK.
  • Ensure that permission of anyone appearing in the recording is obtained, or arrange for them not to be seen by sitting where they will not be seen by the camera (if they make a verbal contribution you will need to remove it).
  • Extensive guidance is available from JISC. The Digitisation team at City can also provide guidance.

Course Packs

  • The CLA licence also allows lecturers to make hard copy course packs.
  • No more than one for the lecturer and one for each student should be produced.
  • These must conform to the same conditions required by the CLA as digital course readings (see above). See the CLA licence section of this guide.
  • Common dangers:
    • Photocopying an extract from a publication which already has a digitisation from it available to the students, and exceeding more than 10% in all.
    • Not checking if the CLA licence permits photocopying from the publication - coverage can be checked on the CLA website
  • NB: digital course readings must not remove the need for students to buy a textbook if there is one available. Homemade ‘Superbooks’ (term coined by the CLA) are not permitted!
  • The Digitisation team can provide guidance.

Using your own published material in teaching

  • When you sign a publisher’s contract, sometimes you will assign them the copyright.
  • However, contracts often contain a clause allowing you to re-use the material for your own teaching.
  • NB: Please read the contract carefully to ensure that you know what you are permitted to do.

Creative Commons Licenses

  • Allows creators (authors, photographers, artists, etc.) to permit re-use of their work, sometimes subject to conditions, and subject to acknowledgement.
  • Further information, including about the different licences, is available in the Creative Commons section of this guide, and on the Creative Commons website.