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Copyright: Copyright and academics

Everything you need to know about copyright


Copyright is very important when considering what third-party material can be made available to students. This short guide is intended to help academic staff decide what items can be used, how to use them and what can't be used for teaching purposes so that copyright is not breached.

About the University's CLA Licence

The CLA Licence - subject to terms and conditions - allows you to copy extracts of text and images from most printed books, journals and magazines published in the UK and many other overseas publications, as well as from many digital publications such as e-books, e-journals and certain websites.

Using images

Most images that you will want to use as part of teaching materials will probably be subject to copyright. This will include photographs, diagrams and other illustrations, whether from printed or electronic sources.

Any image from a print resource covered by the University’s CLA Licence may be copied and included in a course pack or distributed to students, they can also be used in presentations.

Beware of using an image from the internet, just because they are available free online doesn't mean you can use them, you may need the permission of the rights holder. Use Creative Commons for example, which allows you to legally access and use over 800 million licenced works without needing to request permission.

Uisng video, sound and broadcasts

Key points for academic staff when copying text

The CLA Licence allows any member of staff to scan or make copies.

  • You can make copies available for registered students and staff associated with a particular course or module.
  • You can copy up to one chapter from a book, or one article from a journal or magazine - or 10% of the publication, whichever is the greater.
  • The same limits apply to digital publications (i.e. one chapter/article or 10%). If it is difficult to determine what constitutes these limits when copying extracts from digital publications, use your judgement to copy reasonable amounts only.
  • You should make copies only from publications owned or subscribed to by the University or from 'copyright fee paid copies' obtained from the British Library, for example.
  • When photocopying you can make as many copies as required so that each student on a course/module, plus tutors, have access to a copy. This also applies to copies from digital publications.

Course packs: you can put several items together as a course pack, but be careful not to include too significant a number of chapters in this way as the CLA see this as an attempt to recreate a textbook or substitute for not buying the original material which is not permitted and is referred to as 'Textbook Substitution'. This may impact on a decision not to buy the original publication and possibly allow a student to pass a course by using CLA made copies only without any further reading.

Note: you can't copy more than named limits for a particular course by copying incrementally , for example making 10% of a publication available for two weeks of the course only and then a further 10% for the following two weeks.

Potential risks of copyright infringement

For the individual:

  • remove and/or re-work of teaching materials
  • financial penalties
  • possible breach of employment contract leading to disciplinary proceedings

For the University:

  • removal of an entire resource
  • publishers restricting access to resources
  • financial penalties
  • reputational damage within the University

Your responsibilities

In order to comply with Licence terms, the University observes certain policies and procedures. If any copying is done on your behalf by another department, for example the Library, Library staff may ask you to do things or ask further questions regarding any copying.

If you do any copying yourself, you must make sure that you are fully aware of the Licence requirements. Responsibility for any infringement of copyright rests with the person making the copy.

Who owns the copyright of my teaching materials?

Any piece of work that you create during the course of your employment, the University is the first owner of copyright, unless you have arranged something to the contrary with the University.

CLA Permissions Checker

CLA Permissions Checker

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