How copyright applies to you v.6

Copyright for study

Who owns the copyright in the works I create at University?

Students automatically own copyright in works they create in the course of their studies unless otherwise agreed with the university.

Can I do my own copying?

Yes, you can copy for your own individual private study but you are limited by fair dealing as to how much of a work you can copy. You must not make multiple copies or share your copy with other people (by distributing paper copies or by placing copies on a shared network drive, for example).

Copyright for teaching

Copyright training for university lecturers

Teaching staff may find the JISC online course Copyright training for university lecturers useful. After working through some learning scenarios and hearing tips on how to best use copyright material lawfully, you can test your knowledge with a copyright quiz. The whole thing should take less than an hour to complete.

Presentation materials

There are a number of ways in which media can be incorporated into a standard presentation package without infringing copyright.

Copyright law includes a general fair dealing exception that allows copying of works in any medium as long as 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.

This means that limited copying of things such as literary and artistic works (including photographs) can be used, provided it can be demonstrated that the use is fair and does not negatively impact upon the sales of the original material. A photograph, for example, could be incorporated provided it is there to illustrate a point. It would not be acceptable to copy a photograph simply to make your PowerPoint slide look pretty.

Visual images can also be incorporated into your presentation under the terms of the CLA Licence. The Licence permits a digital copy to be prepared of a whole-page visual image and the disembedding of a part-page visual image. Remember that, if your are creating digital copies in this way, they will have to be recorded and reported to the CLA as required by the terms of the licence.

A good option when preparing your presentation is to use free content.


You can request book chapters and journal articles to be scanned and made available to students on the VLE. Instructions on how to do this are available on our website. The CLA has a check permissions search tool that lets you see what can be copied, shared or re-used legally with a CLA licence.


The CLA Higher Education Licence provides blanket permission to photocopy all books, journals, magazines, conference proceedings and law reports published in the United Kingdom, plus many published overseas, provided they have not been specifically excluded. As with digital copies, you can check whether something can be photocopied by using check permissions. As a member of staff you can make these photocopies and supply them to registered students, other course tutors and visiting academics.

You may make multiple copies to hand out in class, either piecemeal or as a pack of course readings, provided that:

TV and radio recording

Linking to clips on YouTube is probably a low risk activity, although it is stated in their Terms of Service that “you agree not to access Content or (sic) any reason other than your personal, non-commercial use”. Also, you cannot assume that the video you found on YouTube has been posted with permission. You can’t upload material from feature films on DVD without permission. However, there is a great deal you can do with video without risking a copyright infringement.

BoB (Box of Broadcasts) National enables all staff and students to choose and record any broadcast programme from 60+ TV and radio channels. The recorded programmes are then kept indefinitely and added to a growing media archive, with all content shared by users across all subscribing institutions. We have a guide to using BoB.

The University also holds an ERA Licence that permits recording from a number of providers.