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The Copyright Clearance Service based in Libraries and Learning Innovation offers guidance for staff and students who wish to use copyright protected works.

What is copyright?

Copyright protects original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works, as well as layouts of published works, computer programs and databases, sound recordings, film and broadcast.

Copyright does not protect ideas; it protects the expression of ideas and arises automatically once they are fixed in a permanent form.

The creator or copyright holder of a work has the exclusive right to:

  • copy the work
  • issue copies of the work to the public
  • perform, show or play the work to the public
  • communicate the work to the public (via broadcast or electronic transmission)
  • make an adaptation of the work

Except under certain circumstances, you should only copy or use a work protected by copyright with the copyright holder’s permission.

What is allowed?

There are a few circumstances where you can copy or use part of all of a copyright work without permission from the copyright holder, including for:

  • non-commercial research or private study
  • illustration for instruction, including setting and answering examination questions
  • quotation; criticism and review
  • reporting current events (not photographs)
  • caricature, parody and pastiche

Your use of a copyright work should be fair to the copyright holder. Ask yourself:

  • does my use substitute for purchasing the original work?
  • is the amount of the work I have used reasonable and appropriate?

To use or copy a work outside of these circumstances will need permission or a licence.

Access the guidelines below for more detailed information:

Please note

Although the guidance provided does not represent legal advice, it is based on the most current information available.

Staff requiring guidance in relation to teaching and University licence agreements should refer to MyBeckett Staff Guides.