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Copyright - types of material


Artistic works include things like photographs, paintings, diagrams, maps and charts, architectural works and works of artistic craftsmanship, and they all qualify for copyright protection. The question is, can you copy a photograph, an illustration or a map for the purpose of teaching and learning?

Members of staff can copy images (including book covers) from publications that are covered by the CLA Licence. You can copy a whole-page visual image, or extract a part-page visual image from a page that may also include text and other images (a process often referred to a ‘disembedding’). Digital copies that include images have to be reported to the CLA, which means following our procedure for requesting a digitization. However, you can copy a disembedded image without it having to be reported it to the CLA, provided it is covered by the Licence terms. Book covers can also be copies without having to report to the CLA.

If the image is not covered by the CLA Licence then you may be able to rely on the Illustration for Instruction (CDPA 1988 s.32) copyright exception, for which the following conditions apply:

1.      the work must be used solely to illustrate a point;

2.      the use of the work must not be for commercial purposes;

3.      the use must be fair dealing; and

4.      it must be accompanied by a sufficient acknowledgement.

Determining what might be considered ‘fair’ is tricky. Copyright restricts the copying of a ‘substantial amount’ of a protected work, but what constitutes substantial is undefined. It is possible that this could be measured by quality (e.g. the resolution of a photograph) rather than quantity.

To avoid having to rely on this copyright exception it is recommended that you use images that are licensed for free use (see Finding Free Content) or try searching one of the image collections available from the Library.

It is worth noting that image creators can be extremely protective of their work and employ tools that trace where their images are being used without permission.