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Copyright: Copyright for Lecturers

A lecturer will need to use third party materials in teaching or learning materials, or provide weekly readings for their modules


It is a misconception that an educational setting gives the right to reproduce copyrighted work.  Rather, there are several exceptions in law which allow the reproduction of copyrighted material in specific circumstances.  Licences held by the University also allow teaching staff to re-use some materials or request the digitisation of extracts of copyrighted works for teaching purposes.

When using copyrighted work in teaching activities, the principles of ‘fair dealing’ must be adhered to:

  • The extract must be relevant to the topic
  • The copyrighted work used must be fully attributed
  • It must be a ‘reasonable’ amount and no more than needed
  • It must be for a limited audience (e.g. for students on your module, and not published on the open web)
  • Available for a limited time
  • Have no impact on the right-holder’s market interests

See the  Teaching materials tab for  guidelines on using copyrighted materials in common  activities including guidance on using text, images and other media.  For further details on specific instances, see the FAQs for lecturers tab or contact   

Preparing lecture slides

You can use small amounts of copyrighted material (e.g. extracts or quotation) in your lecture slides, but these must be properly attributed and accord with the principles of fair dealing.

Using images in lecture slides

Images included in lecture slides should: be your own; have been provided with a license that allows reuse or out of copyright. To find images which have been licensed for free reuse, see Tools, Resources and Training.

There are instances where copyrighted still images will need to be shown in lectures or other teaching activities (especially in the School of Art, Theatre, Film and Television or History departments).  This is allowed provided the principles of fair dealing are adhered to: the image must be essential to the discussion, instruction or critique, and you must use no more than needed for the specific purpose.

You must include any copyright statement or license terms in the caption of the image.

Teaching materials (e.g. PowerPoint slides) including copyrighted material must not be shared outside the lecture (or VLE).

Using film, television and other broadcast media in lectures

You can play clips from film, television or radio broadcasts in classroom-based teaching activities, however if the lecture/seminar is being recorded, you should pause the recording when any clips/films/broadcasts are being played.

You should not upload or embed any film or recording to Blackboard.

Under the terms of the ERA license, programmes from Box of Broadcasts can be embedded in Blackboard.

Providing readings for your modules
If you want to provide readings for your modules, you should request digitisation through the Aspire Reading List for your module.

This ensures that each extract requested is correctly licensed for use and is provided in a format compatible with many types of accessibility software.

You should not upload material you have scanned yourself to Blackboard or email material you have scanned yourself to others.  You should not upload pdfs of articles downloaded from library subscriptions.  Even though this might be done in good faith for educational purposes such activities can infringe copyright.  

If you want to provide an article or chapter as a reading for your module, simply add the article to the module's reading list or request digitisation through the Reading List service.  Contact your Subject Librarian if you need any assistance with reading lists 


You can provide photocopies of copyrighted materials within certain limits (noted below) for use in lectures, seminars or other teaching activities.  This is provided for under the University’s CLA Photocopying and Scanning License. 

Copies must not exceed 5% of the total pages of a work or

  • One chapter of a book
  • One articles from a journal issue
  • One poem or short story (not exceeding 10 pages) from an anthology or collection
  • One case from a collection of law reports

Please note that you must not create more copies of the pack than there are students registered on a module.  This allowance is covered by the CLA Licence and could not otherwise be argued to be ‘fair dealing’.
You can include newspaper articles in course packs within a limit of 250 copies. See details of the NLA licence above for other restrictions. The title of the newspaper and its date of publication should be clearly noted together with a statement declaring that it was copied under the terms of the NLA Licence.

Sharing your own work

At times you may wish to share your own published work with students on your module.  Whether or not you have the right to do this depends on the contractual agreement you made with the publisher of the work.

To avoid any issues or potentially contravening publishing contracts, add the item to the reading list for your module like any other publication, and request digitisation if necessary.  The library will then seek a copyright-cleared digital copy.

For unpublished material, keep in mind that sharing works in manuscript form may put off potential publishers from publishing your text.  If you share your own unpublished material, you should make clear to students that the text is not to be shared beyond the teaching activity/Blackboard.

The examination exception in the Copyright legislation allows for the inclusion of 3rd party copyright material within exam papers and assessed scripts.  Staff should be aware that in including 3rd party material they need to apply the ‘fair dealing’ test, key questions being:

  • Am I using more of the work than is really necessary for the purpose?;
  • Could I be damaging the interests of the copyright owner by reproducing their work in this way?

If you think the answer may be ‘yes’ then you should consider seeking permission.

Pre-recorded lectures – key considerations

UK Copyright legislation covers teaching materials in lectures as well as other contexts. The recording of a lecture, in effect, adds another layer of copying to any works copied for the purpose of giving the original lecture.  You should ensure that you have appropriate permission to use any performances, images, music, text, or other copyright works which may feature in your recording.

Content that can be used for recorded lectures:

  • content of which you are the copyright holder
  • material where Aberystwyth University holds the copyright
  • out-of-copyright materials
  • works which have been assigned a relevant Creative Commons licence
  • works which have been provided specifically for use in lectures, use being allowed for by licence, or images that are Open Educational Resources (OERs). You can search Jorum [ ] to find these resources

Works which, depending on quantity and licensing factors) may be covered for use in recorded lectures:

  • small images or graphs or tables but no more than one from the same source
  • larger images or sections of text (e.g. full page) may be covered by the licence provided by the Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA) Higher Education Licence which allows limited amounts of published copyright works (books and journals) to be copied for teaching purposes. Scanning must be carried out by Information Services to ensure the terms and conditions of this licence are complied with.  For further information, see:
  • AU has an Educational Recording Agency (ERA) licence, which permits the use of (and copying of) TV and radio broadcasts for educational purposes. You can also show (and copy) material from on-demand TV services such as the BBC iplayer under the ERA Licence.
  • We recommend that you use the Box of Broadcasts service for access to digitised TV and radio broadcasts. Recordings acquired from this service can be incorporated into lectures by use of the relevant BoB link/embed codes.

What material cannot be used without explicit permission

  • commercially bought DVDs or videos can be shown in a lecture, but CANNOT be incorporated into a recording of that lecture without explicit permission
  • similarly, it is likely that it is permissible to show a YouTube clip in a lecture, but NOT to record that clip.
  • commercially bought audio CDs can be used in class, but should NOT be included in a lecture recording
  • permission should be sought before using general images from the internet unless the website specifically allows educational or non-commercial use

What to do if material used in the lecture needs to be excluded from the lecture as recorded.

If there is material which is included in the lecture but which, because of copyright or other concerns, should not be included in the recording, it is possible to pause the Abercast (Panopto) system while this is being shown, re-starting once that object has been viewed.

If you fail to edit out anything by using the pause facility, you can edit the recording after the lecture using Panopto editing tools.

If too much work would be involved in editing out content, staff are encouraged to provide an alternative audio / video presentation (or vignette) for students.

This could be a short recording providing an overview of key points or threshold concepts, possibly without visual content, or may discuss points that students find difficult to understand.

For assistance in creating and editing pre-recorded teaching activities, contact the Learning and Teaching Enhancement Unit.

Key concepts

A copyright owner has exclusive rights over a copyright work.  This means that their permission is needed before using their work in certain ways.

Only copyright owners have the right to authorise activities known as restricted acts.  These include:

  • Copying
  • Issues copies to the public
  • Renting or lending
  • Publicly performing
  • Electronically sharing work to the public
  • Adapting

In undertaking any of these activities, you should ensure that you are covered by an appropriate license to do so, or that a copyright exception applies to your activity.  To see what this means for your work at the university, see the Copyright for Students, Lecturers and Research tabs for practical guidance on using copyright materials in your work in a legally compliant way.

Key facts

  • Copyright protection is automatic - works do not need to be registered
  • Copying any copyrighted material without permission (or an appropriate license) is illegal
  • Licences and exceptions allow you to copy material within certain limitations

Many of the copyright exceptions which apply in higher education depend on the concept of fair dealing

There is no precise definition of what is fair, but it depends on:

  • the proportion of the original that is copied, and
  • whether the copying competes with a use the owner might make

This means you should:

  • never copy more of a work than you need for your purpose, and always within the indicative guidelines
  • never reproduce a work in a way that interferes with the exclusive rights of the copyright holder

Help & Support - lecturers

If you need assistance with preparing Reading Lists for your modules including requesting digitisation for course readings, contact the Subject Librarian for your department.

Quick facts

Book in Hand

Even if you are the author of a work, this does not necessarily mean you can share it with your students. This will depend on the contract you have signed with your publisher.

Image: AgustinaCC, Book in Hand (Emma by Jane Austen), CC0 1.0 

Studio 123 Kino

You can show such material to a class on University premises and in real time or use the Box of Broadcasts service. However, commercially bought recordings cannot normally be streamed to students on demand.  

Image: Studio123Kino CC-BY-3.0

Exam Hall

The examination exception in the Copyright legislation allows for the inclusion of 3rd party copyright material within exam papers and assessed scripts. As with all other copyright exceptions, the fair-dealing test applies.  

Image: Rashi Latif, Exam hall, CC-BY-SA-4.0

The Academia Basiliensis

A limited amount of copyright material can be used by lecturers for the purpose of teaching (i.e. illustration for instruction).  

Image: Anon. The 'Academia Basiliensis'. British Museum, 1544-1552.  Digital image: © The Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0