Both printed publications and electronic resources are protected by copyright law. We provide a University guide to copyright for students and researchers. This guide includes information on copyright in relation to your own thesis and when authoring a journal article. Some practical considerations when copying material for learning, teaching or research are summarised below.

Copying for private study and non-commercial research

If you wish to copy material, you must comply with current legislation, as set out in the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

Limits on copying from any one published edition are accepted to be:

  • one complete chapter from a book or 10% of the total, whichever is the greater
  • one article from a journal issue or set of conference proceedings
  • one illustration, diagram or map not exceeding A4 size (illustrations forming an integral part of a chapter or article may be included in the above extracts)
  • the entire report of a single case from a set of law reports
  • one short story or poem (up to a maximum of 10 pages) from an anthology
  • up to 10% from a pamphlet, report or standard (up to a maximum of 20 pages)
  • a short excerpt from a musical work, provided it is not for performance purposes.

Electronic resources

All users of electronic resources must comply with both the copyright law and publishers' licence terms. The following activities are prohibited by most electronic resource licences and agreements unless approval has been obtained:

  • making copies of entire issues or volumes of a monograph or a journal, whether in printed or electronic form.
  • making copies for commercial gain.
  • altering, hiding or removing copyright notices or other proprietary marks which appear within or alongside the content.

Contact our electronic journals team for details of a publisher's terms.

Using third-party materials in presentations and recorded lectures, e.g. Mediasite

An audio presentation giving advice for academics about the use of third-party materials.

Copying for teaching and commercial research

Copying for learning, teaching and research purposes, including commercial research, is covered by the University's Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA) Photocopying Licence. Detailed and brief guides to copying under the CLA licence are available from the CLA


Copyright guidance and advice


Please note: the Library is unable to provide legal copyright advice and your enquiry may need to be referred to the University Secretary's Office.


How to avoid plagiarism

If you incorporate someone else's material in your own work you must cite it properly to avoid plagiarism.

Edit this page