Library and IT

Regulations and policies


Copyright is a complex and constantly evolving legislative area, so the information here is intended to provide just a basic introduction to the principles of copyright and the way they operate in libraries. The information is not a definitive legal opinion.

You may also wish to read information on the following:

Copying limits

These guidelines cover:

  • photocopying
  • printing
  • scanning
  • downloading of material
Images, data and text that are in electronic form are also protected by copyright.

You can copy material if one of the following applies:

  • you own the copyright yourself
  • you have the permission of the person who owns the copyright
  • the material is "out of copyright"
  • the University holds a licence which permits the copying you want to carry out
  • you are copying within the accepted limits of fair dealing. "Fair dealing" covers copying for private study that has no direct or indirect commercial purpose, or for research with a non-commercial purpose. The amount you can copy is not precisely defined by law, but it is generally accepted as including:
    • Up to 5% or one complete chapter (whichever is greater) from a book
    • Up to 5% or one whole article (whichever is greater) from a single issue of a journal
    • Up to 5% or one paper (whichever is greater) from a set of conference proceedings

Copying and printing e-books

Most e-books are subject to copyright, so you may only print or download small sections. As a rough guide, about one chapter is usually acceptable.

You may not print or download a whole e-book. Attempts to do so can be monitored and are a breach of copyright law and the University regulations.

More information

  • LACA: Libraries and Archives Copyright Alliance: Lobbies the Government and the EU on all aspects to do with copyright on behalf of UK libraries, archives and information services and their users. Provides useful guidelines on the recent changes to copyright law.