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Copyright, How-To-Guide

It is understood that teaching would be impossible without being able to share creative works and research with students. There are several exceptions in the law as well as licenses that can be utilized to allow copyright material to be used for instruction purposes. You will find guidance on this page for using copyright materials in a classroom and virtual learning environment. 


Copyright for instructors

Using copyright materials as part of instruction.

Whenever you wish to use someone else's work as part of your instruction, the work must be covered by either:

  • A license
  • Or an exception

If what you want to do is not covered by either, you will need to get the permission of the author to use their work. 

Fortunately, most of what you can copy and share is covered by collective licenses that the university has purchased for educational purposes. If something is not covered by a license, then you may be able to apply a legislative exception instead.

University ownership

Who owns copyright of your work at LSBU?

Normally it is the employer, i.e., the university that owns anything you create as part of your employment. This means that things like the course materials and presentations you make while working at LSBU, are owned by LSBU. 

The university waives its rights in scholarly materials. So if you were to write a book, book chapter, publish a journal article, or present at a conference while at LSBU, you will retain the copyright to that material.

Copyright licenses for instructors

The collective licenses.

There are three main licenses that every university has because it's impossible to operate without them. With these licenses, we can make multiple copies of things and make them available to our students.

  • The Copyright Licensing Agency
  • The Newspaper Licensing Agency
  • And the Educational Recording Agency


The Copyright Licensing Agency

The CLA license allows staff to make multiple copies of text and still images from print and online materials for students and members of staff with strict reference to a course of study. "The course of study" being defined as any part of a student’s program which is a discrete and self-contained unit such as a module.

Printed music, maps and charts and Newspapers are excluded from the CLA license. So if you have something like a meteorological chart or an ordinance survey map, they aren’t covered by the copyright license, you would need to get the copyright holder’s permission to copy those.

Within the CLA license, we can make:

  • Multiple copies of 10% of any published edition, or
  • One chapter from a book
  • One article from a journal
  • One scene from a play
  • One short story or poem (not exceeding ten pages in length) from an anthology
  • The whole report of a single case from a volume of judicial proceedings.
  • Whichever is the greater --Ergo, If 10% actually covered 2 chapters, we could copy the 2 chapters. 

Multiuse guidelines:

This permission to make copies enables each student on a course of study (and the course tutors) to be supplied with one copy of each extract from a copyright work. So if you have 30 students on a module, you can legally make 31 copies – one for each student, and one for yourself.

  • This permission to make copies also enables staff to scan materials for use through a VLE. However, anything that has been scanned, needs to be checked by the library and reported to the CLA, so it is best to let the library do the scanning. 
  • Digital Copies must be stored and distributed via 'course based' collections.
  • And anyone can look at these, but the downloading and printing is limited to the students on that course.

Altering content:

The CLA license also allows us to alter materials for pedagogic purposes. This means that if you want to copy a piece of work from a report, blanking out certain parts and asking the students to fill them in, you can do that. But you need to make clear what you have done and that the work has been altered from the original.

Altering format:

In addition to this, we can change a copy's format. For example, an extract from a digital product covered by the CLA license may be printed out and then scanned under the scanning provisions of the license.

Alternatively, a digital copy of an extract of digital material may be made by copying one page at a time, including into a different format.

Admin copies:

CLA license allows for the creation of admin copies. This means that we can copy copyright materials without them being for a particular course of study and make them available to staff and students within the university. Ergo, If you want to copy materials to make them available to people on a training course, this is allowed. 

Copying from the internet:

The CLA license also allows us to:

  • Copy and share text and still images from the internet. This means it is possible to copy and share works published in electronic form including websites that are free to view but may not be free to copy.
  • Copy and share things that are sourced from digital materials such as e-books and e-journals.

So again, even if you have an e-book that says you can only copy a certain amount of pages, under the CLA license, you can copy one chapter or 10% of the book.


The Newspaper Licensing Agency

The NLA license allows us to make photocopies of any article form newspapers and make digital copies from newspapers.

The license says we can transmit copies by fax, email, or VLE.


The Educational Recording Agency

The ERA license allows us to record and present any broadcasts made in the UK of works and performances made by ERA members. 

  • We can record broadcasts from BBC (television and radio), ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5, S4C, and the Open University.
  • It includes digital TV and radio channels operated by these companies.
  • We can also show programmes from BBC iPlayer and 4OD.

This means that we can record television broadcasts and show them to people through something like Bob.


Digital content provided by LSBU.

Most digital content provided to students and staff at the university is covered by software licenses. If you wish to provide software not supported by the university to your students, first check to see what license/s may be required.

teaching exceptions

Exceptions to copyright for lecturers.

You may run into cases where what you want to utilize in your courses is not covered by licenses. In this case, you may be able to apply a legal exception. These exceptions allow you to use the work without the permission of the copyright holder. Any time you want to rely on these exceptions, it's important that you abide by the rules of Fair Dealing. 

This simply means that you must comply with the following:

  • You cannot deprive the creator of revenue.
  • You must have acquired the material fairly and legally.
  • You must use only what is needed.
  • You must acknowledged the author or creator.


Illustration for Instruction

The main exception that covers using copyright materials for educators is section 32, Illustration for Instruction, which says:

(1) Fair dealing with a work for the sole purpose of illustration for instruction does not infringe copyright in the work provided that the dealing is—

  • (a) for a non-commercial purpose,
  • (b) by a person giving or receiving instruction, and
  • (c) accompanied by a sufficient acknowledgement.

This includes giving or receiving instruction as well as setting the exam questions, communicating the questions, and answering the questions.


Other exceptions.

There are several more exceptions that can be utilized by instructors under Fair Dealing, a few of which are outlined below. Check the CDPA website for more details. 

Performing, Playing or Showing Work in the Course of Activities of Educational Establishment

Another exception which is often used for showing films or playing sound recordings to students in a classroom setting is section 34, which allows for:

(1)The performance of a literary, dramatic or musical work before an audience consisting of teachers and pupils at an educational establishment and other persons directly connected with the activities of the establishment—

  • (a) by a teacher or pupil in the course of the activities of the establishment, or
  • (b) at the establishment by any person for the purposes of instruction,

It is important to note that this exception only covers educational use and cannot be used for entertainment purposes, even if within an educational establishment. 

Quotation (section 30)

Copyright in a work is not infringed by the use of a quotation from the work (whether for criticism or review or otherwise) provided that—

(a) the work has been made available to the public,

(b) the use of the quotation is fair dealing with the work,

(c) the extent of the quotation is no more than is required by the specific purpose for which it is used, and

(d) the quotation is accompanied by a sufficient acknowledgement (unless this would be impossible for reasons of practicality or otherwise).

Disability (Section 31A-F)

You can copy any copyright materials in their entirety  for the use of a person with a disability, if that disability means that the person can’t substantially enjoy the resource to the same extent as someone who doesn’t have that disability.