This web page provides guidance on copyright, including electronic copyright. It is a guide for Keele University staff and students, particularly those who need to make photocopies for work or study purposes. It does not constitute official legal advice.

What is copyright?

Copyright is an issue you need to take into account when creating any online teaching materials. It is especially important if you are using published works of any type (“third party” copyright material) in the course of your teaching. Although only Keele students and staff access material on the Keele Learning Environment (KLE), educational use of copyright material is governed by copyright laws and licences, which exist to protect an author’s intellectual property rights.

The two main copyright provisions in UK law are;

  1. Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988
  2. The Copyright and Rights in Performances (Research, Education, Libraries and Archives) Regulations 2014

Copyright protection lasts between 25 and 70 years, depending on the type of material. Responsibility for infringement of copyright rests with the person making the copy, not with the providers of the equipment. Owning a copyright work yourself does not give you the right to copy it freely for use in teaching. While a work is protected, unless you have the copyright owner’s permission, you are prohibited from copying, apart from under the following conditions:

  • Fair dealing
  • Educational use under defined permitted activities (UK law calls this “Illustration for Instruction”)
  • Copyright licences

You can learn more about copyright statutes and licences from;

The University holds the Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA) Higher Education Licence for 2019-2022 which allows the creation of multiple copies of extracts from copyright works, either handed out as photocopies in lectures/tutorials or more usually digitised by the Library on behalf of module leaders for delivery on the KLE (see below).

Copying copyright works for individual use

Fair dealing
The Copyright, Designs & Patents Act 1988, and subsequent legislation, allows individuals to make a single copy from a literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work under the terms of "fair dealing", without needing prior permission from the copyright owner. However, you may only claim fair dealing for certain specific purposes:

  • non-commercial research or private study
  • criticism or review
  • news reporting

In the case of “research or private study” copying is limited to:

  • One complete chapter from a book or 5% of the total, whichever is the greater
  • One article from a journal issue or set of conference proceedings
  • One article from an issue of a newspaper
  • One single case from a published report of judicial proceedings
  • One short story or poem of up to 10 pages from an anthology
  • A single extract not exceeding A4 size may be photocopied from an Ordnance Survey map
  • Short excerpts from musical works, but not whole works or movements, and not for performance purposes

The legislation does not specify how much may be copied from any one publication under fair dealing; but the limits given above are the generally accepted interpretation.
These limits apply to photocopying from published originals and from photocopied items held in the library’s collection, in the context of being for individual research and private study.

“Private study” is not defined, but is intended to exclude copying for group or class study. "Research” includes that undertaken for educational purposes.

For “criticism and review” purposes, fair dealing allows copying of up to a limit of 400 words in one extract or several extracts of less than 300 words and totalling no more than 800 words.
Providing sufficient acknowledgement of the source is given, anyone may copy from a work (but not photographs) for the purposes of reporting current events, i.e. news reporting.

Copying for examination purposes is allowed by reprography, provided it is not a musical work. However, if these exam papers were to be published at a later date then permission(s) would need to be sought for any copyright material in the exam paper.

Using copyright works in teaching

Permitted educational uses under copyright law
Copyright law was amended in 2014 to extend the permitted acts when using copyright works for the purposes of teaching (“illustration for instruction”). Copying for this context has been widened to include ALL copyright works, and now allows copying using a reprographic process; the amount you copy from any work has to be "fair dealing" though, and less than 5% is what is usually regarded as "fair". However the exception now allows copying of images, films, music or broadcasts for using in a teaching session. The copies must be for illustrative purposes and accompanied with an acknowledgement. Such copies may not be used outside of a teaching session context or VLE content area.

If you are intending to provide multiple photocopies to a student group, or use scanned chapter extracts or journal papers from published material for use on the KLE, this should be done under the CLA HE Licence, and therefore by the Library's Digitisation Service.

Copying licences

The Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA) Higher Education Licence
The University has signed the Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA) Higher Education Licence for 2019-2022 which allows the creation of multiple copies of extracts from copyright works, either handed out in lectures/tutorials or more usually digitised by the Library on behalf of module leaders for delivery on the KLE.

The licence allows for;

Multiple photocopies of extracts of printed books, journals and magazines


Digital copies of extracts of printed or digital books, journals and magazines for distribution or delivery to a group of students enrolled on a course of study.

Academic and/or administrative staff can produce as many photocopies of one extract as needed to ensure that each student taking the relevant module has access to a copy.

For electronic copying, the Library's Digitisation Service is tasked with creating electronic copies under the CLA HE Licence. Visit our digitisation page for more details.

A detailed outline of the conditions of the HE Licence are outlined in the CLA's guidelines for users. In general, one chapter or 10% can be copied from a book, and one journal article or 10% from an issue of a journal. You can also check whether a publication is covered by the Licence using the CLA's Check Permissions website.

Using broadcast TV programmes in lectures - Box of Broadcasts (BOB)
Box of Broadcasts (BoB) National is a TV and radio recording service for UK higher and further education institutions and is freely available to all staff and students at Keele. 

Copying for students with a print disability
UK Law allows allows HEIs to make and supply accessible versions of printed books, journals and magazines to students and members of staff who have a print disability, subject to the HEI (or the person themselves) owning an original published edition of a title.

It allows:

Making of “accessible copies” of a part or a whole of a work by or for people with a disability (including visual impairment conditions such as dyslexia) that affects their ability to read and/or access content.
The UK Government Intellectual Property Office (IPO) guidelines on making accessible copies for disabled people under UK law.
Our CLA HE Licence also mandates creating accessible versions of published works.

The Library provides a digitisation service, as well as free use of SensusAccess software which can convert documents of many kinds into more accessible formats. Contact to enquire about services around accessible copies.

Further guidance 

If you have any copyright query you can contact the Library at and it will be forwarded to the relevant staff.

Useful websites

Using copyright materials in teaching: a guide for staff (105 KB)

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