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Copyright Guide: Copyright for students

Copyright for Students

This guide has been designed to help you use copyrighted material and encourage you to think about your own copyrighted work and how you might wish to share it.

These frequently asked questions (FAQs) cover most questions that you might have starting out. There are further resources listed below that may help. If you’re not sure about something and you would like some advice, you can use our chat service or book a 1:1 with a librarian.

Most images you’ll find on the web are copyrighted images even if they don’t state it. If you want to find images that you can use, you can search image libraries, or you can use filters on search engines to specify open licences.

There are different licences that can be applied to images. It’s good to understand what some of the different licences are including Creative Commons licences, so that you know what you can do with the images that you find, and how to acknowledge them.

There are also copyright exceptions that can be used here: research and private study, and quotation, criticism and review. However, these might not be sufficient for your intended use. If you're not sure, please ask for advice.

Yes, you can copy library material as long as you’re copying it for research and private study. You may copy a chapter, or up to 5% of a book, or a whole article. You can apply this principle to all formats.

You can copy print resources either by scanning, photocopying, or photographing them; and you can download echapters or electronic journal articles. Importantly, you are not allowed to share material that you have copied, either by email, through social media, or by distributing print copies. But you can share a link instead and the other person can make their own copy.

Most of the content you access as a student will be subscription content. This means the library has paid for access. However, you may be using open access books and open access journal articles. With these resources, you can exceed the copying quota and you can share material more easily. Check the licences that have been applied to understand what you can do.

The library subscribes to many different licensed resources: bibliographic databases, electronic journals and ebooks. As a student you will have access to these resources during the time that you are at university. Our licences allow you to use these resources for personal educational use. This means that you can’t share your access (login details). You also are responsible for keeping your account secure, so remembering to logout when using shared devices is important.

Students with disabilities or or a specific learning differences can request alternative formats and the library can source these for you. For example, students with a visual impairment can request large-print copies of textbooks. To access this support contact Student Disability and Inclusion, who will work with the library to provide you with the resources you need for your studies.

You can also 'create a request' for alternative formats directly through Library Search.

For Word document transcript click here.

Students also have access to Blackboard Ally for course material and to Claro Software and ClaroRead.

Copyright is an automatic right, so you own the copyright in your work, and this includes your notes, assignments, and examination answers that you produce whilst you’re a student. When you collaborate on a project, you will share the copyright.

You might like to share your work with others. Consider adopting a suitable Creative Commons licence so that you can share content that you create on the web.

When you sign up to social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, you should be aware of how your content can be used. Whilst you keep the copyright to your content, in signing up you grant these companies a non-exclusive licence to use your images and content. That means they can store, copy, modify and share your photos for example without needing additional permission or offering any compensation. Check out the Terms of Service if you are unsure.

Further Resources

Exceptions to copyright - Guidance from the Intellectual Property Office on the exceptions to copyright that allow limited use of copyright works without the permission of the copyright owner:

Copyright user - An independent online resource aimed at making UK Copyright Law accessible to everyone.

Creative Commons - Enables the sharing and reuse of creativity and knowledge through the provision of free legal tools and licenses.


Acknowledgement: this work, "Copyright for students", is based on content created by University of Kent Copyright Guidance by Morrison, Chris and Groth-Seary, Angela, used under CC BY 4.0; and Copyright Guidance at The University of Manchester, by University of Manchester, used under CC BY-NC 4.0

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