This guidance is designed to help academic staff understand the copyright issues related to teaching, and provide guidance on what can and cannot be done if they are to comply with Copyright law and the licences held by the University. Ownership of copyright in materials created by individual members of staff is covered by the University’s Intellectual Property (IP) Policy. The use of 3rd party copyright material for private study and non-commercial research can be found on our Copyright guidance for students and researchers.

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 - subject to certain limits. There are also a number of licences that allow 3rd party copyright material to be used without infringing copyright. One of the most important licences used in the provision of teaching materials is the CLA HE Licence (Copyright Licensing Agency Higher Education Licence).

CLA HE licence

The CLA HE licence allows the making of multiple copies of 3rd party copyright material for students and allows library staff to offer a CLA scanning service, whereby digital copies of book chapters and journal articles can be made and distributed to students via a secure course collection such as the Leganto reading lists. One important restriction of this licence is that the digital copies can only be made by library staff.

Scans of book chapters or a journal articles that the university does not hold electronically can be requested using the online request form.

If you are a new user, click on 'New User' and complete the registration. (You only need to register the first time you use the service). Use your abertay email address as your username (e.g, Guidance on registering and completing the online form can be found Guide to Using the Online Form . If you prefer, you can still submit your requests by simply emailing the details of the scan (e.g.,module name and code, book title, extract title, year of publication and page range) to your academic librarian. 

Copyright Responsibilities and Take Down Policy

Staff are reminded that they are responsible for ensuring their actions are compliant with UK copyright law and the copyright licences held by the University. Although the University has a responsibility to ensure that staff (and students) are aware of copyright and comply with the law, it remains the responsibility of the person making the copy to ensure they do not infringe copyright. Materials or activities that do not comply with copyright law or the terms of the University's copyright licences will be removed.

If you need further information, please email or contact your academic librarian.

FAQs - General copyright queries

What is copyright?

Copyright protects the rights of the creators of intellectual property whilst also recognising the legitimate need for others to use this material. It is protected by the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, under which copying is prohibited even for teaching purposes unless:

  • Permission is obtained from the copyright owner, or
  • It is carried out under the fair dealing provisions of the Act, or
  • It is carried out under licence.

A number of significant changes to the 1988 Copyright Designs and Patents Act came into force in June and October 2014. Of particular interest to teaching staff are the changes which affect copying for illustration for instruction. A list of the copyright exceptions can be found at Gov.UK

What copyright licences does the university hold?

The university holds the following licences:

If you need further information on any of these licences, please email: or contact your academic librarian. 

Why does the university need to pay for copyright Licences?

People often assume that one of the Fair Dealing copyright exceptions will cover then for all activities associated with teaching. This is not the case. The exceptions are extremely limited and activities would be curtailed if the University did not pay for the copyright licences that it holds. Take for example the CLA HE licence. This licence:

  • allows multiple copies of a book chapter or journal article to be made for students on a particular module. Fair Dealing does not allow multiple copies to be made.
  • allows a chapter to be scanned and a link added to a Leganto reading list. . Scanning of book chapters for students cannot be done under the fair dealing exceptions.Under the terms of our CLA HE licence, scanning can only be carried out by Library staff.
Can I copy copyrighted material for setting an exam question?

Yes - you can copy copyright works for setting an examination question. Copying material for setting an examination is covered by  the illustration for instruction exception. The amount copied must be fair and usually must include sufficient acknowledgment unless there is a very good reason why you cannot acknowledge the source.

What is fair dealing?

'Fair dealing’ is an exception allowable in UK Copyright Law that allows anyone to copy from copyrighted material. Unlike The CLA HE Licence, the amounts that can be copied are not defined. As there are no are no defined limits of what is fair, each individual must make a judgment and decide whether their copying is fair if they are relying on 'fair dealing' as their defence. Questions that might help you decide whether the use is fair are:

  •  Is the amount copied reasonable and appropriate to the context?
  •  Have I copied no more than I need to?
  •  Does the copying negatively affect sales of the work?
  •  Have I acknowledged the work appropriately?

Unless there is a specific reason why you cannot acknowledge the sources, there must always be sufficient acknowledgment of the copyright owner and source of the material if the use is to be considered fair.

Where can I find images and videos to use in teaching?

There are many sources of information including videos and images on the internet which are created under licences such Creative Commons Licences that allow the content to be re- used and in some cases adapted for re-use. For help on finding material licensed in this way have a look at Newspapers and multimedia guide.

You can also use copyright images for teaching under one of the Fair dealing exceptions , e.g Illustration for instruction or Quotation. To be fair, use only what you need and acknowledge the copyright owner and source of the published material. If using whole images  use a lower resolution of the image than in the published image if at all possible.

The CLA licence also permits 'disembedded' images to be copied from licensed works and used for instructive purposes within a lecture including when the lecture slides are uploaded to My Learning Space. Any surrounding text other than the descriptive caption should be cropped out, otherwise you will need to request a CLA compliant scan using the online request form.

Can I show show a film or play music to my students?

Teachers and students are able to perform music or drama, play recorded music, or screen a film or TV broadcast, for an educational activity without infringing copyright. But the law does not cover situations or events where non-Abertay students are included, or there is a charge for the tickets, or the performance is recorded.

To show a film or play music at a student society event, open lecture or other extra-curricular activity, you will need to apply for a licence from the appropriate agency. If you require further information, please email or contact your academic librarian.

FAQs - CLA HE Licence and CLA Scanning Service

Can book chapters or journal articles be scanned and made available from the Leganto reading lists?

Yes. The CLA HE licence allows Library staff to scan and distribute the material via the Leganto reading lists.

There are limits to the amount that can be scanned under the licence and these are listed below. When scanned extracts are made available via Leganto, library staff carry out all the licensing checks and ensure that all the CLA HE License requirements are met. Our CLA HE licence does not allow teaching staff to scan book chapters or journal articles and add these to Leganto or My Learning Space. 

Limits for scanning under CLA HE licence: 

  • One chapter from a book.
  • One article from 1 issue of a journal.
  • One whole report of a single case from a volume of judicial proceedings. 
  • One short story, poem or play (not exceeding 10 pages in length) from an anthology.
  • One whole scene from a play.
  • One whole paper from a set of conference proceedings.
  • Or, 10% of any of the above whichever is the greater.

In addition the scanned copy must be made from:

  • The original book or journal and a copy of this must be held by the University.
  • Material which was originally published in the UK or US with the exception of publishers who have not signed up to the licence. 
  • Materials supplied from the British Library using their copyright fee paid materials. 

Material that is already available electronically in the Library will not normally be scanned under our CLA licence as you should be able to add a link to the material on your Leganto reading list.

Can anyone scan book chapters or journal articles and add these to Leganto?

No. Our CLA licence stipulates that the preparation and distribution of digital copies can only be carried out by designated staff. Lecturers are not authorised to scan copyright materials themselves and upload the scanned material to Leganto as the licence does not allow this.

To request a book chapter or journal article to be scanned for adding to your reading list or Blackboard you should use the online request form.

Can I upload PDFS of journal articles and books chapters that the university holds electronically to Leganto?

No- for this content you should add the link for the electronic resource  to your Leganto reading list and not upload the actual PDF.

By doing this, not only are you avoiding making any infringing copies but you are also ensuring that the use of the  electronic content is being recorded accurately. This is important because content that is recorded as being well used will not be be highlighted for cancellation when the use of the library's electronic resources and its journal and database  subscriptions are reviewed each year.

If you need help using Leganto, have a look at the Leganto support pages or contact your academic librarian.

What can be scanned using our CLA HE licence?

Not all published works are covered by the CLA Higher Education Licence. The following categories of works are excluded:

  • Printed music (including the words);
  • Maps and charts;
  • Newspapers;
  • Any work on which the copyright owner has expressly and prominently stipulated that it may not be copied under a CLA licence: workbooks, workcards or assignment sheets.

In addition to these excluded categories there are lists of excluded works and specific US titles that are not covered by the CLA licence. The CLA have a developed a useful Check Permissions Tool which can be used to check whether a specific book is covered by the licence.

When you use the scanning service, library staff will check that the material is covered by the licence before scanning it.

How long does it take to get a scan and have this added to a Leganto reading List?

Library staff will  process your request as quickly as possible but at busy times of the year you should allow up to 5 working days for your requests to be processed.  However, as canning is outsourced to the British Library, turnaround also depends on how quickly the British Library are able to produce the scan. We have no control over this part of the process.

Can I use a scanned chapter or article in more than one Leganto reading list?

Yes you can but you must email to let library staff know that you want to use the scan in an additional module.

Each reading list will require a differnt link to the scanned material. Library staff can easily create a new link to the scanned chapter and add this to the new reading list.

What is text book substitution?

When choosing material to digitise for particular modules the scanned material should be provided to enrich the students’ learning experience. It should not be used to create a collection that would cover substantially the same material as a standard textbook and it should not be created to provide students with an alternative to buying a textbook for their course.

If you do this then this would be considered as text book substitution and would not comply with the use of our CLA HE Licence.The CLA Good Practice Guide provides useful advice on how to use the library scanning service to enhance your teaching and avoid textbook substitution.

FAQs- Lecture Capture and Copyright

How do I avoid infringing 3rd party copyright in recorded lectures?

Provided that the material in your slides is for the purposes of ‘illustration for instruction’, there is no reason that lecture capture technology cannot be used to record a lecture which includes 3rd party copyright material and this content be added to My Learning Space.

Remember to be fair, the work must be sufficiently acknowledged, you must only use only what you need and no more, and it should not adversely affect sales of the copyright material. 

If your recorded lecture is to be made available to a wider audience than just restricted to students on a module then you will need to consider editing out any material which is not your own, unless it has an appropriate licence such as a CC BY or CC BY-NC or you have written permission form the copyright owner to use their content in this way.