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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.


A desktop computer with several peripherals and other accessories
Most online resources (databases, online journals, e-books) are made available through subscriptions handled by the Library. Access to City staff and students is allowed under the terms of licences drawn up by the supplier. Please take time to read these general guidelines to licensing for online resources.
All members of City are responsible for ensuring that they comply with resource licences. For more information please contact the e-access team.

Guidelines to be aware of

As a general rule:

  • You may not make multiple copies of any material
  • You may not share any material with unauthorised users (for example, non-members of City, University of London)
  • All use must be for non-commercial purposes, that is private use only, such as for research, teaching or study. Student placements and work-related projects may well constitute commercial use so licence terms must be checked in these circumstances.
  • You must never disclose your password(s) for electronic resources
  • You must not modify the text of any copyright material, nor any related copyright statement.

If you want to bring any licensed material (normally online journals or e-books) to the attention of students or colleagues, please link to it via Reading Lists Online rather than email it or add a full-text version to a network such as Moodle.

You should not make licensed material available to others over any kind of network or by email without checking the terms of the licence concerned.


Where e-books are concerned, there are generally no limits to the amount of text you may read or display on the screen, but you should not download, copy or print out more than 5% of the whole of the e-book. If you exceed this limit, you may find that e-book access is blocked, not only for you but also for your fellow students. Please see our e-book library guide for further information.

E-journals and databases

As a guideline regarding electronic journals, you may print or download single copies of articles and database search results providing they are for your own personal use. You may also email them to yourself. You must not systematically make copies of a whole issue of a journal.

Credit for image on this page

'Computers' by chrisblackwell (CC BY 2.0) Accessed from Flickr 09/07/2015