Copyright protects your work and stops others from using it without your permission. It covers:
- Original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic work, including illustration and photography
- Original non-literary written work, such as software, web content and databases
- Sound and music recordings
- Film and television recordings
- The layout of published editions of written, dramatic and musical works
To be subject to copyright, a work must be:
- In a recorded or fixed format
Copyright is automatic – you don’t need to apply for it, or put a © on your work.
As well as owning copyright works yourself, you may wish to make use of someone else’s copyright-protected works. There are certain very specific situations where you may be permitted to do so without seeking permission from the owner.
These exceptions only apply if the use of the work is a ‘fair dealing’, for example:
- Does using the work affect the market for the original work? If a use of a work acts as a substitute for it, causing the owner to lose revenue, then it is not likely to be fair.
- Is the amount of the work taken reasonable and appropriate? Was it necessary to use the amount that was taken? Usually only part of a work may be used.
Source: Intellectual Property Office. (2014). Guidance: Exceptions to Copyright. Retrieved from https://www.gov.uk/guidance/exceptions-to-copyright
For students and researchers
During your studies or research you will make use of many copyrighted items: books, journal articles, reports, images, broadcasts, data, and much more.
- The University has licences which allow you to copy small portions of works (usually 1 chapter or article, or 10% of the whole work).
- ‘Fair dealing’ within copyright law allows the use of this material, for the purposes of study and research, without seeking permission from the copyright holder. (Note: the exception to this is the use of images in a PhD Thesis. As this will be made accessible online, you must seek permission from the copyright owner. Please see the Depositing your e-Thesis guide for advice about this.) To find out what you can legally use see the Intellectual Property Office’s guide Exceptions to copyright: Research.
- Remember that you must acknowledge any third-party copyrighted material you use by correctly citing and referencing your sources. You can find help with this on the Skills for Learning section. Failure to sufficiently acknowledge your sources is considered plagiarism. Penalties may include you losing marks, failing the assessment, failing your module, or being expelled from the University.
- While the University has licences allowing you to use various resources, these resources are for the purposes of study, research and teaching only. Under no circumstances can you share copies through file-sharing sites. Penalties for this may include disciplinary sanction, expulsion from the University, and where there is evidence of a criminal offence, the issue will be reported to the Police for action. Further details can be found in the University's Acceptable Use Policy, in particular, Section 3.2.18.
You may wish to make use of copyrighted material in your teaching, for example, providing copies of articles or chapters as recommended reading for your students, using images in PowerPoint slides, or showing video material in lectures or through Blackboard.
Often it will be possible to do this, either through Licensing schemes, exceptions for teaching in Copyright law, or by using Creative Commons material. Some common examples are:
- Reading List items - To use the CLA Higher Education Licence to copy extracts from printed and digital publications and make them available to students we must be able to report exactly what has been copied. It is therefore very important that all staff follow the University’s process when making copyright material available to students. Please see the Digitisation page for information about this.
- Images in lecture slides and other teaching material - Copyright exceptions allow you to use copyrighted images if they are there specifically to illustrate a point. Try looking for images that have a Creative Commons licence; see About the Licenses to find out more about these and what you can do with the works.
Remember that you must sufficiently acknowledge the sources of the images you use.
- Broadcasts - You can show off-air recordings in classes, make them available through Blackboard, or add them to reading lists, by using Box of Broadcasts (BoB).
For more extensive advice about what you may legally use, please see the Intellectual Property Office’s guide Exceptions to copyright: education and teaching and for comprehensive advice about current copyright law, see Intellectual property: Copyright.
Copyright for teaching - Can I use this?: This interactive tool will help you determine whether you can use specific types of material in your teaching and what you are allowed to do with them, without breaching copyright.
If you have any questions about using copyrighted material for teaching, learning or research please contact The Library.
Tel: 0161 295 5535 (Mon-Fri 9am-5pm)
Text: 01689 422053 (Mon-Fri 9am-5pm)