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Library Guides

Copyright for Academics: Lectures and assessment

This guide provides guidance on copyright matters for teaching staff

Copyright and your lectures

Copyright exceptions allow limited use of copyrighted works without permission for lecture capture, provided they fall within the specific category.
Teaching materials that you have produced in the course of your employment are copyright covered for recording purposes. But for contributions from visiting speakers, students, third parties (non employees), permission will be required to include them in a recording.
Openly licenced material is often an easy way to provide copyright free content. See below for examples and where to find them.

How copyright affects your lectures and course material

If you want to use your own published material for teaching, check the agreement you have signed with your publisher. It is not always the case that you can freely make multiple copies or a digital copy for course reading.

Where teaching material has been created by an employee of the University in the course of their employment, the employer (the University) is the first owner of copyright in the work unless there is an agreement to the contrary.

As the University technically owns the copyright in the work created during the course of employment in the University, you can reuse some works created by colleagues e.g. powerpoints in the course of your teaching, but it is good practice to approach the colleague beforehand to make them aware, and to clearly indicate on the materials (for example on the first page) that they are the original creators of the work.  

Scanning books and documents for course material

Use the online reading list to request scans of book chapters for students as part of a course of study.
It's an efficient system that ensures copyright compliance and provides high quality, fully accessible material.

Our CLA licence allows for 10% or one chapter or journal article whichever is greater (compared to 5% under exceptions).
We can sometimes apply for additional permissions if more than one chapter or article is needed (or more than 10%).
Ensure that the listed material is marked as essential reading.

If the material is not available in the library, we may also be able to order it.

Be aware that not all publishers make their material available under this scheme, occasionally your Academic Liaison Librarian may contact you to discuss alternative texts.

Contact your Academic Engagement Librarian for further details.


Using content in Lecture Capture

Copyright will be relevant where lectures are being recorded

These guidelines from Jisc clarify the legal aspects of recording lectures at UK further and higher education institutions. 

Checklist for lecture capture

  • Is the material still in copyright?

Check Copyright expiry lengths. If not in copyright, you can use it freely without permission.

  • Are openly licenced materials available? 

Use of materials which are openly licensed avoids risk of infringement.

Examples include: Creative Commons; Jorum; Flickr; GNU software; advanced search on Google.

  • Does use of the material satisfy a relevant copyright exception?

Exceptions include where a work is copied for the purpose of: illustration for instruction; criticism or review; quotation; or caricature, parody or pastiche. This allows limited use of copyrighted works without the permission of the copyright owner unless a licence exists for the work.

  • Are rights holders attributed?

This usually means the author and original work is identified by title or description, and will depend on the licence terms or exception being used. Specific exceptions require you to sufficiently acknowledge use of a work.


The illustration for instruction section 32(2) makes clear that giving or receiving instruction includes the setting of examination questions, communicating the questions to students and answering the questions. You can rely on the exception if you want to reproduce a piece of text to analyse for example in an English exam, however the amount that can be copied is subject to fair dealing. 


Disclaimer: The guide in no way substitutes for formal legal advice. If you are in any doubt or require further information we recommend you consult the sources of further advice at the end of this guide.