Whilst library staff endeavour to give guidance in these matters, it is ultimately the responsibility of the individual student or staff member of the University to abide by the legislation and CLA agreement. We strongly advise that you consult the CLA HE licence and user guidance before undertaking any copying.

Copyright & The Albert Sloman Library

The Albert Sloman Library collections in print and electronic format (e.g. e-journals, e-books and online databases) are subject to copyright law and publishers' licensing terms which cover photocopying, scanning, printing, downloading and re-use of content. Please be aware that it is the individual's responsibility to ensure their actions do not breach copyright or license agreements. Any infringement can result in serious legal consequences.

Notices are placed beside all photocopying machines and scanners in the Library drawing attention of users to copyright regulations. Further notices and guidance are accessible from the e-resources pages on the Library website.


What is copyright?

Copyright gives legal protection to the creators of original material against unauthorised exploitation of their work and covers the reproduction, publication, dissemination or performance of anything that is written, printed, recorded, or produced in any form, including printed and electronic material, illustrations, films, recorded music, computer software, and all intellectual property. Copyright in the UK is governed by the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1998, as amended.

How long does copyright last?

Copyright usually provides protection for a specific period of time. When that time elapses, the material is considered to be in the public domain. Copyright normally exists until 70 years have elapsed from the year of the creator's death, but even if the literary content of a work is out of copyright, copyright exists in the typographical arrangement of a published work for 25 years after the end of the year in which the edition was first published.

See: Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988

Who owns copyright?

The Act specifies who is the first owner at the time of creation or production but copyright can be assigned by the owner to another, e.g., the author of an article in a journal can assign copyright to the publisher of that journal.

What can I copy?

It is not permitted to copy any copyright material unless the material falls into one of the categories below:

  • copyright has expired (See above: How long does copyright last?)
  • or you own the copyright (See above: Who owns copyright?)
  • or the copyright holder has given permission for the work to be copied (See below: Obtaining permission)
  • or use of the work is governed by a licence granted by the copyright holder (See below: Multiple copying for teaching purposes)
  • or your copy, or copies is/are permitted by the Act (See below: Single copies for private study or research).

Please note the above is an interpretation of the law and does not constitute formal legal advice.

Further information

Single copies for private study or research

By an individual or someone on their behalf.

What is 'Fair Dealing?'

The law permits the copying of copyright material for private study and research within certain limits and this permission is sometimes referred to as 'fair dealing' or a legally permitted copy. Currently it is uncertain whether fair dealing extends to scanning, digitising or downloading but some guidance is provided below.

Fair dealing is not a legal right and is strictly limited as follows:

  • the purposes of research for a non-commercial purpose
  • the purposes of private study which must not be directly or indirectly for a commercial purpose
  • criticism and review
  • reporting of current events

The accepted guidelines for what constitutes fair dealing are:

  • one article from an issue of a journal
  • up to one chapter or 5% (whichever is greater - but no more than 5%) of a book
  • one poem or a short story or up to ten pages from an anthology
  • up to 10% (maximum) 20 pages per short book (without chapters), report, or pamphlet
  • one separate illustration, diagram, photograph or map up to A4 size, but, if an integral part of articles/chapters, they may be included in the extracts identified above.

Can I Scan/Digitise printed material under Fair Dealing for Personal use?

It is probably reasonable for you to scan a copy of copyright material for your own personal use provided that it is within the guidelines for fair dealing outlined above.

Can I make a copy from electronic works for personal use or private study?

Access to and use of, the Library's subscription-based electronic resources is subject to individual contractual agreements and licenses with vendors. These agreements impose certain conditions and restrictions on use, all users of these resources must comply with the particular terms of use associated with the resource, especially those terms that specify restrictions on the amount you may download or store electronically.

In general most electronic resources give permission to:

  • read an article or book on screen
  • print a copy of an e-journal article, a chapter of a book, or database search results for personal use.
  • download a copy of an e-journal article, a chapter of a book, or database search results for personal use.

It is not permitted to:

  • use the information retrieved for commercial or business purposes
  • give your username and password to anyone else.
  • to download excessive portions of the resource into your own file-space or other electronic media
  • pass on any information retrieved to a person who is not authorised to use the resource or republish the material in any form
  • make multiple print or electronic copies of e-journal articles*
  • make e-journal articles available through a computer network without express permission of the rights holder*
  • remove, alter, or obscure any copyright notices or text from any e-journal article.

*Multiple copying of the same item is not permitted under copyright law or 'fair dealing' but is permitted in some circumstances within the terms of the University's HE license with the Copyright Licensing Agency (see below).

Copying for Persons with Disabilities

With the Copyright and Rights in Performances (Disability) Regulations 2014/1384 the Government have made it easier for disabled people to access materials that are protected by copyright. The change in the law has made the rules on what can be copied into an accessible format much broader so that a whole range of content, including films and broadcasts, can be reproduced in an accessible format for disabled people. It has also allows anyone who has an impairment that prevents them accessing copyright works will be able to benefit from the exception, not just visually-impaired people. However, it will only be legal to reproduce material if suitable accessible copies are not commercially available.

See: Exceptions to copyright: accessible formats for disabled people

Crown copyright

Crown copyright exists in works 'made by Her Majesty or by an officer or servant of the Crown in the course of his duties' which includes material created by civil servants, ministers and government departments and agencies and includes material such as legislation, government codes of practice, Ordnance Survey mapping, government reports, official press releases, government forms and many public records.

Most material should feature a Crown copyright statement © Crown copyright.

Crown copyright work which has been published will have copyright protection for 50 years from the end of the year in which the work was published.

Unpublished works have a period of protection of 125 years from the end of the year in which the work was made or until 31 December 2039 (which is 50 years from the year in which the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 came into force).

Copyright in a work which has been assigned to the Crown lasts 70 years after the death of the person who created it.

The 'use and reuse' of Crown copyright material is managed by the Open Government Licence see:

Further information on Crown Copyright and the OGL

National Archives:

Guidance Notes on Copyright & Crown Copyright

Crown Copyright FAQs

List of UK Crown bodies

Duration of Crown copyright flowchart

About the Open Government Licence

Open Government Licence: guidance for users

Useful links


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