Staff and students will regularly use copyrighted material such as books, music, films and other works. These can be resources you have purchased, borrowed from the Library or found online. You can copy from these copyrighted sources for your own non-commercial research and private study but there are limits as to how much and what you can copy. This guidance is designed to help students and researchers understand the copyright issues involved in using 3rd party copyright material. This guidance does not cover the University’s  Intellectual Property Policy or copyright issues related to teaching.

Although the University has a responsibility to ensure that students and researchers are aware of copyright and comply with the law, it is the responsibility of the person making the copy to ensure that they do not infringe copyright.

Copyright law aims to strike a balance between the rights of the copyright owner to control how their work is used and the rights of re-use, such as 'Fair Dealing'. It does this by providing some useful exceptions that allows copyright material to be copied. Abertay also holds a number of licences that allow 3rd party copyright material to be used without infringing copyright. The most important exception for students and researchers is the ‘fair dealing’ exception for copying for non-commercial research and private study.

Copying for non-commercial research and private study

Researchers and students are allowed to copy limited extracts of works for non-commercial research and private study. This includes text, images, sound and video recordings. The amount is limited by fair dealing and must be sufficiently acknowledged. The amount which may be copied is not specified by the legislation but often the amounts listed below are used as a rule of thumb to decide if the copying is fair. However, in some cases fair dealing could be more or less than these limits. The person copying must decide if the use is fair.  

  • One chapter or up to 5% of a book, whichever is the greater;
  • One article from a journal issue or set of conference proceedings;
  • One short story or poem of up to 10 pages from an anthology;
  • One case from a law report.

 CLA HE licence

The university also holds the CLA HE Licence (Copyright licensing Agency Higher Education Licence), which allows Abertay students, staff and researchers to copy material within specific limits. The terms of use of the CLA HE Licence are displayed beside all university copiers and printers.  

If you need help or advice regarding copyright, please email library@abertay.ac.uk or contact your academic librarian.

FAQs- General copyright queries

What is copyright and what does it protect?
How long does copyright protection last?
What copyright licences does the university hold?
What is fair dealing?
What are Creative Commons licences and how do they work?
Where can I find images and videos that I can use outwith the normal copyright restrictions?
What are the most common copyright myths?

FAQs - Using copyright material for coursework

Can I include copyright material in my coursework?
I am making a video for my course work. What copyright issues do I need to consider?

FAQs - Copyright and e-theses

Are there any copyright implications that I should consider when making my PhD or MbR thesis available as an e-thesis?
Can I include PDFs of my published articles in my e-thesis?

FAQs - Copyright and Research

Can I use text and data mining for my research at the University?
I am presenting at a conference ? do I need to worry about copyright?
Can I upload and share my articles online using websites such as ResearchGate and Academia.edu?
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