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Copyright: Copyright FAQs - Lecturers

Am I allowed to hand out ‘study-packs’ to students on a particular module?

Yes, you can distribute ‘course-packs’ or ‘study packs’ including extracts from books or journals to students on any given module. The extracts must not exceed the established limits for copying (i.e. 5%/one chapter/one article etc). Please note that you must not create more copies of the pack than there are students registered on a particular module. This allowance is covered by the CLA Licence and could not otherwise be argued to be ‘fair dealing’.

Does this also apply to groups of Distance Learners?

Yes. Distance Learners are also now covered by the CLA Licence.

Am I allowed to copy and distribute to my students extracts from a book/journal which I own but which is not held in the University library?

Yes, but again, within the limits as set out above. To do this you should use the Digitisation Service which will arrange a high-quality, accessible scan with an appropriate licence. 

Am I allowed to give students access to an unpublished work which I have created?

Yes. If you are certain that you are the copyright holder, an unpublished manuscript of an article or other written work may be provided to students. In many cases this would be available via the University's Research Portal. 

I've written an article/book. Can I copy it and share it with my students?

Copying in these circumstances depends what you signed when you agreed to publication. In many cases you will have signed away your ownership of the copyright to the publisher. The publisher is then the rights owner who can give, or charge for, permission to make copies beyond what is allowed under law or licence. If you haven’t signed anything you should still assume that copyright in the final version of a journal article lies with the publisher until you have established otherwise. You may still be able to make this available to students via the Digitisation Service.

If I use material in setting an assessment or an exam question do I still need copyright permission?

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.

Am I allowed to record broadcast television programmes and show them to a class of students?

Yes. Staff are permitted to record programmes for non-commercial educational use and show them to students under a licence from the Educational Recording Agency (ERA). All recordings must be accompanied by the following information: the date of the recording; the title of the programme; the name of the broadcaster; the words “This recording is to be used only under the terms of the ERA licence”. The licence does not allow for the adaptation or alteration of a recording. Further details can be found at the guidance on Video Streaming.

Can I show a film or a tv programme to a class of students?

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

Can I play recorded music in a class?

Yes, you can play music in a class or lecture provided that your audience consists only of students or academic staff and the music is for the purposes of instruction.

I want to copy some diagrams and photographs and include them in my presentation. Is this permitted?

Single graphs or diagrams for review may be included, but anything more than this would require either: a) the explicit permission of the copyright holder or b) application  to Information Services to have material scanned by the Digitisation Service 


Am I allowed to use content from YouTube on Blackboard or in lectures?

Yes as long as you link to it correctly by either providing the hyperlink or correctly embedding the code given by YouTube and the material has not been uploaded illegally. 

Do I need permission to use images in a short film?

If the images are not licensed for re-use then you will need to get permission from the copyright owner / photographer before using them in the film. The only exception to this rule is if the film is being made for the purposes of examination and assessment.

When someone allows me to use their material, should I keep their permission / consent forms?

Yes, all copyright permissions (letters, e-mails, forms etc) must be retained by you for as long as the copied item exists.

I emailed an artist and asked for their permission to use an image from their website. They have not responded. Does this mean I can use it anyway?

No! No response does not automatically give you the right to use an item. Try sending a follow-up email, make a telephone call (if possible), and if everything fails try to find an alternative. If do need to include it in a thesis you should make a note to omit this image from copies made available to the public.

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