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Using copyright material in education

Copyright gives legal protection to original:

  • literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works
  • sound recordings
  • films (and videos)
  • broadcasts (including cable and satellite programmes)
  • typographical arrangements of published works

Copyright arises automatically once the work is recorded in writing or some other form, and it gives the copyright holder exclusive right to:

  • copy the work
  • issue copies of the work to the public
  • perform, show or play the work in public
  • to communicate the work to the public (by broadcast, or by electronic transmission)

It is an infringement to do any of the above without the permission of the copyright holder. However, copyright law includes several statutory exceptions to these exclusive rights

What is allowed?

There are certain exceptions to the exclusive rights of copyright holders, where copying without seeking permission is allowed, including for:

Non-commercial research and private study
You may copy from any type of copyright work for this purpose provided that the amount used is fair and reasonable. If copying for research, the source of the work should be acknowledged where practical.

Text and data analysis for non-commercial research
If you have the right to access a copyright work (such as through a Library subscription), you are allowed to make a copy of the work for text and data mining purposes as part of your research without asking for additional permission.

Criticism, review, quotation and news reporting
You do not need to seek the permission of the copyright owner to use a quotation as long as the original work has been made available to the public, the copy is accompanied by a sufficient acknowledgment of the source, and the use is considered fair and reasonable. However, photographs cannot be copied in order to report current events.

Illustration for instruction, including examinations
Illustrative uses of copyright works are permitted for the purpose of teaching, provided that your use is minimal and fair, and the source of the work is acknowledged. Any type of work can be copied to illustrate a teaching point.

Copying and use of extracts of works for instruction
The University can copy up to 5% from a work during any 12 month period for non-commercial instruction, except broadcasts or separate artistic works. You should only rely on this exception if a licence authorising the act is not available, for example if a work is excluded from an educational copying licence.

Caricature, parody or pastiche
You can copy a moderate amount of somebody else’s work for this purpose without seeking permission, for example, copying extracts from films to create a parody video.

For each exception, the amount of material which can be copied must be fair to the copyright holder. In legal terms, this is called “fair dealing”.

Factors which are relevant in determining whether a particular use is “fair dealing” include:

  • Does the use of the work substitute for buying a copy of the original?
  • Is the amount of the work taken necessary, reasonable and appropriate? 

Any use that is not “fair dealing” will require permission or a licence. 

These exceptions do not replace the need for a licence where one exists, such as an educational copying licence as outlined below.

What licence agreements do we have in place?

Licences are contracts that allow greater freedom in the copying of protected material.

The University has agreed to several licences, including:

  • The Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA) licence covering paper-to-paper photocopying, scanning from print-to-digital and some digital-to-digital copying
  • The Educational Recording Agency (ERA) licence covering off-air broadcasts including Open University
  • Newspaper Licensing Agency (NLA) licence covering UK newspapers

Licences should not restrict acts which are permitted by law or be more restrictive than the copyright exceptions previously outlined.

What is allowed under the terms of the CLA licence?

The Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA) licence permits multiple copying for educational purposes.

The licence applies only to Authorised Persons:

All students enrolled at the University but not students studying at an overseas campus or partner institutions.

All staff employed by the University, including Emeritus Professors and other honorary staff and visiting academics; and postgraduate students who hold a teaching role (who need to make copies as part of their teaching); but excluding walk-in users, ex-members of staff, alumni.

Distance Learners and staff based overseas are covered by the licence to receive copies, but are not permitted to make the copies themselves.

Members of staff may create paper copies from a wide range of materials under the terms of the licence. Such copies include photocopies, print-outs from digital sources and printed course packs.

The scanning provisions within the licence also permit the creation of digital copies under certain terms but all copies must include a Copyright Notice and be reported to the CLA.
Library Services therefore offer a centralised Digitisation Service whereby staff can request material to be scanned under this licence.

Digital copies not created by the Digitisation Service are unlikely to meet the terms of the licence and will be in breach of copyright. Contact:

Certain limitations apply to both photocopying and scanning.

Copies should only be made from either:

  • An original published book, journal or law report owned by the University, either by purchase, bequest, or donation.
    Personal copies, interlibrary loans from the British Library or other institutions, inspection copies or reprints supplied by a publisher are not covered by this licence.

  • A copyright fee paid copy of a chapter or article supplied by the British Library - these must be ordered via your Academic Librarian or the Digitisation Service.

Limitations also apply to the amount which may be copied. 

For any single module, the amount from each individual work which can be copied is:

No more than one chapter per book, or one article per journal/periodical, or one single case report from a Law Report; or no more than 10% of a given work, whichever is greater.

If photocopying, the number of copies should not exceed the number needed for each student on the module plus one for the lecturer.

The material being copied must not be excluded from the licence.

Which works are excluded from the CLA licence?

The following categories of material may not be copied under this licence:

  • newspapers (print and some online newspapers covered by the NLA licence)
  • printed music (including lyrics)
  • maps and charts
  • workbooks, workcards and assignment sheets (intended for once-only use)
  • any work which the copyright owner has stated may not be copied under this licence
  • works published in those countries outside the United Kingdom which do not have an agreement with the CLA. See the CLA’s list of International Territories for details.
  • works which have been specifically excluded from the licence and are listed on the CLA's Excluded Works List.

To check whether you are able to copy from a particular publication, enter a title or ISBN into the CLA’s Check Permissions search tool, available on their website. Select Higher Education Permissions.

Interlibrary Loan copies

Interlibrary Loan requests for copies from the British Library are supplied solely for the purposes of non-commercial research or private study. These copies cannot be added to MyBeckett or further copied for teaching purposes.

What does the CLA licence cover?

Course packs
Printed course packs consisting of compilations of photocopied material can be created under the terms of this licence. Provided that the licence covers the material being copied, and that the copying limits are observed, no additional copyright clearance is required.

“Electronic course packs” in which readings are presented in course collections within a MyBeckett module can be created under licence via the Digitisation Service. Contact for further information.

Distance Learning material
Distance learning students in the UK can receive copies under the terms of this licence. Such students must be receiving instruction from the University (rather than a partner institution) but do not necessarily have to attend the University premises.

Distance Learning students and staff outside the UK are licensed to receive copies, but cannot make the copies themselves. Distance learners at an overseas campus, or part of a franchise or partnership arrangement are not covered by the licence.

Artistic works
Artistic works include photographs, diagrams, charts and illustrations. Such items are covered by the CLA licence, whether they are embedded in the text of an article/chapter or appear on a separate page.

Administration copying
Digital copies of licensed material can be created and circulated for internal information purposes, for example sharing press cuttings taken from journals or periodicals (not newspapers) via a secure network.

Copyright clearance may be required if:

  • the University does not own an original published edition of the material
  • the original material being copied is excluded from the CLA Licence, and not covered by any other licence or copyright exception
  • the amount being copied for a module is over the 10% limit allowed by the CLA Licence, such as several chapters from the same book.

The Copyright Clearance Service is based in Headingley Library (0113 812 7472) and is available to offer advice and guidance to Leeds Beckett University staff and students, as well as practical help in seeking rights clearances.

The Copyright Clearance Service will contact the rights holders on your behalf. Permission to copy may involve a copyright fee. Please allow 6-8 weeks for such clearances.

Yes, information recorded in an electronic or digital format, including CD-ROMs, online databases, computer programs, web pages etc. is protected by copyright.

Electronic journals and databases
Access to electronic journals and databases is often restricted by password and usage must be under the terms of the accompanying licence or subscription contract. Such licences or contracts should not prevent copying under the exceptions previously outlined.

In circumstances not covered by the usual exceptions, check the terms and conditions of usage. These may be available online and should be adhered to. Sometimes you are asked to click agreement with on-screen conditions of access. This means you have entered into a form of contract which should be respected. Permission is required for any other usage.

Referencing or linking to an electronic journal article from a website, online reading list or a module in MyBeckett does not infringe copyright (provided that the login or security measures are not bypassed). Most electronic journal providers allow for article level linking.

The internet
The internet is not free from copyright. Although most materials placed on the internet are freely available and may have an implied licence to copy, it is good practice to always check for any terms and conditions and request permission where necessary. Items offered as downloads may be intended for personal use only.

Unless there is a copyright waiver displayed on the site, or an accompanying licence for usage, you may only copy without permission under one of the exceptions previously outlined.

Examples of permitted usage:

  • downloading an item to a PC as long as it is not networked, for private study
  • downloading a single copy to USB or print out for personal use

Linking to a website is usually not regarded as an infringement of copyright but it is good practice to check for a site's Linking Policy.

Website owners may particularly object to links which bypass the homepage (deep-linking) and to framing, where images from their website are displayed within frames of the University’s website.  It must be clear that you are directing users to another website.

You should also be aware that the material on a website has been lawfully made available to the public. If material has been made available online without a rights holder’s permission, it would be bad practice to link to it and an infringement to make copies of it. Be careful when using sites such as YouTube and other social networking sites that may contain commercial content which has been uploaded without permission. If in any doubt, contact the webmaster for information/permission.

Audio visual materials
Video, film and sound recordings can be copied under the exceptions outlined previously as long as the amount used is fair.

Off-air broadcasts and some digital broadcasts may be copied under licence from ERA.

ERA provides a licence to copy for educational, non-commercial purposes only. Licensed recordings can be retained, stored (on a secure server, on CD or on DVD), copied and relayed to staff and students at the University both on and off campus but not outside the UK.

Box of Broadcasts (BoB)
Box of Broadcasts is an online TV and radio recording service operating under the ERA licence, offering a choice of over 60 TV and radio channels. Recorded programmes are kept indefinitely and added to a growing media archive of at over 1 million programmes. Details of how to log into BoB are on the Library website.

ERA recordings can be streamed to classes on campus. Licensed recordings may be included in a PowerPoint presentation (but the presentation should not be made available outside of the UK).

ERA recordings must be correctly labelled. Digital recordings require a written opening credit or web page which must be viewed or listened to before access is permitted.

Further information about the ERA licence is available on ERA website.

Digital broadcast
On-demand services and interactive services  such as the BBC’s iPlayer programmes, where the viewer or listener chooses the viewing or listening time), can only be recorded under the ERA licence:

  1. if the programme provider allows it 
  2. and the digital rights management software is not tampered with or removed.

It is possible to play a digital programme to a class for as long as it is available. Where there is a download option (BBC iPlayer) you can download and keep a copy for the limited period set until the download expires. To access the programme for longer, check whether it is available on Box of Broadcasts.

The BBC provides terms and conditions for the use of its online programmes via the BBC iPlayer and Digital Services: Here are a couple of links to them:

Terms of Use for the BBC’s digital services

Use of BBC content

What about creating content for a website or VLE?

It is the copyright owner’s exclusive right to ‘communicate a work to the public’ by electronic means. This includes putting material on a website.

Intranets and VLEs such as MyBeckett, although they might be password protected, are regarded as public networks.

Unless you are copying under an existing licence or one of the statutory exceptions (not private study or research) or you own the copyright in the content of your website or the material is out of copyright, permission should be obtained.

Legally, the University as the employer owns the copyright in any original course materials created by a lecturer as part of his/her work.

If any third party copyright material is used, permission or a licence must first be sought which will cover all potential usage.

The CLA licence does not cover franchised or partnership arrangements or courses based on campuses overseas. Only distance learners who are taught entirely by the University are permitted to receive materials copied under the licence.

For programmes developed in partnership with other organisations, a written agreement from all parties should be obtained in advance, outlining how the material will be used and who holds the copyright.

Further information is available in the University's Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Policy.

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Page last updated: 13/09/2021

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