Frequently Asked Questions


Copyright is a legal right of ownership that enables the creator of a written, artistic or published work to control how it is used

Q. Am I allowed to photocopy pages for my own use from books, journals or theses?

Ans: Yes, you can copy extracts from most books, journals, theses, conference proceedings and law reports as long as there is only a single copy for your own private individual use, and it is within the defined extent limits.

Q. What are the defined extent limits for copying?


  • Up to 10% or ONE chapter of a book
  • Up to 10% or ONE article from a single issue of a journal
  • Up to 10% or ONE report/case from judicial proceedings
  • Up to 10% or ONE paper from a set of conference proceedings
  • Up to 10% of an anthology or ONE short story/poem of no more than 10 pages
Whichever is the greater

Q. Am I allowed to photocopy newspaper articles?

Ans: Yes, newspaper articles can be copied for private study or research purposes under a licence supplied by the Newspaper Licensing Agency (NLA). Copies can also be supplied to registered students on a course

Q. What is the difference between photocopies, born digital and scanned documents?

Ans: Photocopies are reproductions in paper format which can be shared. Scanned documents are created from a printed original and can be saved, shared with colleagues at Bangor, or printed. Born digital items do not exist in paper format – but you are allowed to make digital copies, print paper copies, store digital copies (subject to defined extent limits).

Q. Am I allowed to scan pages of a publication or document for research or private study?

Ans: There is no blanket licence which specifically permits individuals to do this.  Scanning a printed article or an insubstantial part of a printed work may be acceptable as ‘fair dealing’, but this applies strictly to private study or research of a non-commercial nature and must not involve dissemination of any kind.  For educational purposes, e.g. sharing via Blackboard, material can only be scanned if it is done via the Library’s Reading List system, under the terms of the CLA licence.  To organise this please contact

Q. Am I allowed to scan part of a book, journal or digitally reproduce a map or graph and place it on a website?

Ans: No. Posting either a part of, or an entire copyright item on a network or Internet site open to the public cannot be considered ‘fair dealing’ and may indeed be regarded as illegal re-publication. Permission must be sought from the rights holder in all cases.

Q. Am I allowed to use as much as I want of an original work in a quotation?

Ans: For quotations, the law has been amended to give people greater freedom to quote the works of others for other purposes, as long as this is reasonable and fair (“fair dealing”).

Q. What is fair dealing?

Ans: “Fair dealing” is a legal term used to establish whether a use of copyright material is lawful or whether it infringes copyright. There is no statutory definition of fair dealing - it will always be a matter of fact, degree and impression in each case. The question to be asked is: how would a fair-minded and honest person have dealt with the work? Factors that have been identified by the courts as relevant in determining whether a particular dealing with a work is fair, include: " Does using the work affect the market for the original work? If a use of a work acts as a substitute for it, causing the owner to lose revenue, then it is not likely to be fair.  Is the amount of the work taken reasonable and appropriate? Was it necessary to use the amount that was taken? Usually only part of a work may be used." The relative importance of any one factor will vary according to the case in hand and the type of dealing in question.

Q. Does the fair dealing exception mean that people can quote any amount of copyright material for free?

Ans: No. It only allows the use of material for the purpose of quotation to a fair extent (e.g. it does not replace a commercial sale). So, for example, it could permit a short quotation that is necessary and relevant in an essay or academic paper.

Q. Does the fair dealing exception apply to photographs?

Ans: The fair dealing exception does apply to photographs but reproducing an entire photograph would conflict with the copyright owner’s ability to generate revenue and therefore be considered unfair.

Q. Am I allowed to use any image from the Internet in my presentation or on my web pages?

Ans: No - it is a common misconception that all images on the Internet are free, but they are not. The law of Copyright still applies to this type of material. Look for images which have a Creative Commons licence attached to them or which have been made available for use for educational purposes. You must ask for permission to use any images which are labelled 'all rights reserved' or which do not have any licence attached to them. Also remember to credit the creator of the image appropriately and where necessary.

Q. Where can I find copyright-free material on the Web?

Ans: There are a number of copyright and royalty-free images, sound recordings and videos on the Web, but you must check the terms and conditions of the website and/or object before you use anything. There is a list of possible resources available here

Q. I emailed an artist and asked for their permission to use an image from their website. They have not responded. Does this mean I can use it anyway?

Ans: No. No response does not automatically give you the right to use an item. Try sending a follow-up email, make a telephone call (if possible), and if everything fails try to find an alternative. If you do need to include it in a thesis, you may do so but please be aware that your thesis will require an embargo in the University Repository.

Q. Am I allowed to copy an image from a book or the internet and use it as part of a poster to advertise a club or event?

Ans: No. Before using any such images you have to obtain the explicit permission of the copyright holder.

Q. Do I own the copyright in my own student work?

Ans: In general, yes. However, there are circumstances in which some students may have worked collaboratively with staff or have been funded by bodies which acquire some rights over the work. Various parties may share the copyright in these instances. The University will also expect you to make your work available for photocopying, electronic copying, lending and inclusion within the institution’s digital repository.

Q. Who owns the copyright of my research?

Ans: As stated in the University's IP Policy, you are the first owner of copyright in your scholarly work unless it has been commissioned by the University or a funding contract claims ownership. When submitting an article for publication in a journal, you will be required to sign a copyright agreement form, please check the details of the copyright agreement carefully. For more information see: AND

Q. Am I allowed to include copyright material in my dissertation or thesis?

Ans: Copyright legislation treats dissertations and theses in the same way as exam papers and assessed scripts and allows for the inclusion of third party copyright material (the examination exception). If including third party material the ‘fair dealing’ test should be applied. Successful PhD candidates are expected to submit their works for inclusion within the University’s electronic repository. This subsequent publication of their work is not covered under the examination ‘fair dealing’ exception. Therefore, those submitting PhDs are expected to seek appropriate permission for inclusion of third party copyright material in their work, or otherwise highlight those instances where permission has not been sought or granted so that relevant action can be taken (e.g. an embargo placed on that work). Short quotes, small tables etc would not normally require permission, but clear and accurate acknowledgement of the source should always be included.

Q. When someone allows me to use their material, should I keep their permission / consent forms?

Ans: Yes, all copyright permissions (letters, e-mails, forms etc) must be retained by you for as long as the copied item exists.

Q. When you see the phrase: "All rights reserved" - does this mean I can use it?

Ans: No - this means that the copyright owner does not want you to do anything with their work without their express permission.

Q. What does it mean if something is described as Public Domain?

Ans: A work would be in the ‘Public Domain’ if there is no current copyright attached to it. It might be expired or rights have been waived and have been passed onto public ownership.

Q. What images am I allowed to use in my teaching?

Ans: Although it is very easy to download images from the Internet and include them into your presentations, these images will almost certainly be subject to copyright, and unless you own the image yourself, we would not recommend you use images taken from the internet in your recorded lectures. Further information about sources of suitable images is available here Examples of ways that you can legally use images in your recorded lectures include: 1) Use images where the copyright has expired (e.g. public domain works) 2) Use images licensed under a Creative Commons (CC) licence - all CC licences mean the copyright owner must be attributed and there may be other restrictions on its use 3) Use images taken from Open Educational Resources 4) Create your own images, take your own photographs 5) Obtain permission to use them from the copyright holder 6) Use images under a copyright exception, such as 'quotation, criticism and review' or 'illustration for instruction' provided the use is considered fair and you acknowledge the owner of the work

Q. If I use copyright material within an exam paper, do I still need copyright permission?

Ans: The examination exception in the Copyright legislation allows for the inclusion of third party copyright material within exam papers and assessed scripts. Staff should be aware that in including third party material they need to apply the ‘fair dealing’ test, key questions being: Am I using more of the work than is really necessary for the purpose?; Could I be damaging the interests of the copyright owner by reproducing their work in this way? If you think the answer may be ‘yes’ then you should consider seeking permission. Clear and accurate acknowledgement of the source should always be included.

Q. Am I allowed to record broadcast television programmes and show them to a class of students?

Ans: Yes. Staff are permitted to record free-to-air programmes for non-commercial educational use and show them to students under a licence from the Educational Recording Agency (ERA). All recordings must be accompanied by the following information: the date of the recording; the title of the programme; the name of the broadcaster; the words “This recording is to be used only under the terms of the ERA licence”. The licence does not allow for the adaptation or alteration of a recording, for instance, the separation of images from soundtracks. In certain circumstances recordings made under the ERA licence may be held in the library for use by students. Please contact your academic support librarian for information on how to request recordings.

Q. Can I upload a programme I’ve downloaded from an on-demand service (e.g. iPlayer/4 on demand) to Blackboard?

Ans: On-demand services are covered by the ERA Licence which allows the viewing of this material in classes and lectures. However, in most cases, third parties have imposed restrictions on the actual recording of this material and the broadcasting companies have subsequently had to impose control by Digital Rights Management protection (DRM). Unfortunately there is little non-DRM material available (some can be found on 4OD and iPlayer) and breaking DRM protection is illegal. If recordings are still being made available by the broadcaster you can link to the recording itself from within Blackboard.

Q. Can I upload a pdf to Blackboard?

Ans: If the PDF contains personal notes or unpublished content – YES If the PDF contains published articles or chapters or third party material – NO [to upload this material you need to contact]

Q. Can I upload a film I’ve bought on DVD to Blackboard?

Ans: This will almost certainly not be permissible without the explicit permission of the relevant rights holder. This also applies to DVDs that the library has purchased.

Q. Can I upload a documentary I’ve bought on DVD to Blackboard?

Ans: Similarly, unless made available with a special licence, such as a Creative Commons Licence, you will not be able to upload this sort of material without permission from the rights holder.

Q. Can I upload something I’ve purchased from iTunes or similar to Blackboard?

Ans: No. But you may play music in a lecture, seminar or tutorial provided that your audience consists only of students or academic staff and the music is for the purposes of instruction.

Q. Can I scan some diagrams and photographs, include them in my PowerPoint presentation and upload to Blackboard?

Ans: Single graphs, images or diagrams may be included, but anything more than this would require either: a. the explicit permission of the copyright holder or b. application to the Library and Archives Service to have material scanned under the CLA Scanning Licence. Please contact for more information

Q. Am I allowed to scan text or diagrams to Blackboard?

Ans: The same principles apply here as apply to scanning material for use in PowerPoint, as outlined above, i.e. you either require the permission of the copyright holder or need to have scanned under the terms and conditions of the CLA licence.

Q. Am I allowed to use content from YouTube on Blackboard or in lectures?

Ans: Yes as long as you link to it correctly by either providing the hyperlink or correctly embedding the code given by YouTube. However, you should avoid linking to content if you suspect that content has been illegally uploaded to YouTube (e.g. questionable quality of new programmes indicating pirate copying). If you can satisfy the "illustration for instruction" exception in copyright law then you don’t need permission to use the clips where they are within a secure VLE. For the “illustration for instruction” exception to apply, the use of the video clips must be used: • Illustratively (not simply for aesthetic effect to make the work look good) • Non-commercial use • Fair dealing (essentially not competing with the rights holder) • Sufficiently acknowledged The term ‘illustration’ is not defined. However, it is likely to be interpreted to mean that a copy of a video clip can be used to illustrate or reinforce a teaching point but cannot be copied merely for aesthetic purposes to make a presentation look more attractive. (For more information on this exception – please see:

Q. Am I allowed to show clips from on demand services such as BBC iPlayer and 4oD in lectures and seminars?

Ans: Yes, provided the clips are for educational rather than illustrative or entertainment purposes.

Q. Am I allowed to show films and television programmes in lectures and seminars?

Ans: Yes, as long as they are being shown for educational purposes only (i.e. not entertainment) to an audience of teaching staff and students.

Q. Do I need permission to use images in a short film?

Ans: If the images are not licensed for re-use then you will need to get permission from the copyright owner / photographer before using them in the film. The only exception to this rule is if the film is being made for the purposes of examination and assessment.

Q. Am I allowed to hand out ‘study-packs’ to students on a particular module?

Ans: Yes, you can distribute printed ‘study packs’ including extracts from books or journals to students on any given module. The extracts must not exceed the defined extent limits for copying. Please note that you must not create more copies of the pack than there are students registered on a particular module. This allowance is covered by the CLA Licence and could not otherwise be argued to be ‘fair dealing’. Digital copies (scanned documents or born digital) may be added into a reading list. To organise this please contact

Q. Am I allowed to hand out ‘study-packs’ to Distance Learners?

Ans: Yes. Distance Learners are also now covered by the CLA Licence.

Q. Am I allowed to include newspaper articles in ‘study packs’?

Ans: Yes, within a limit of 250 copies. The title of the newspaper and its date of publication should be clearly noted together with a statement declaring that it was copied under the terms of the NLA Licence. Copies can also be supplied to registered students on a course

Q. Am I allowed to copy and distribute to my students extracts from a book/journal which I own but which is not held in the University library?

Ans: Yes. However, you should also bear in mind the fact that the CLA licence is not all-inclusive. You are advised to include this type of material in your reading lists so that the library can run the relevant copyright checks on your behalf. Please contact

Q. Am I allowed to give students library access to an unpublished work which I have created?

Ans: Yes - if you are certain that you are the sole copyright holder and that no part of the copyright has been transferred to any publisher. If your work is in a digital format, then you may upload it to Blackboard with clear stipulations to students regarding how much they can copy and paste or print off from the original.

Q. Can I photocopy as much as I want of an article/book if I am the author?

Ans: Copying in these circumstances depends what you signed when you agreed to publication. In many cases you will have signed away your ownership of the copyright to the publisher. The publisher is then the rights owner who can give, or charge for, permission to make copies beyond what is allowed under law or licence. If you haven’t signed anything you should still assume that the copyright of a journal article lies with the publisher until you have established otherwise.

Q. Can I translate my work?

Ans: If your work has been published, you may have passed ownership of your translation rights to the publisher. You would need to check your contract or contact the publisher. If your work has never been published and you retain sole copyright ownership, you have the right to publish in the language/s of your choice. You might want to consider asking your publisher to allow you to retain your translation rights in future.

Q. Where can I find additional information on Copyright?

Ans: Copyright Training for University Lecturers, a short practical online course

Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA) Higher Education Licence

Nine things you need to know about copyright: A good practice guide for administrators, librarians and academics.

Copyright: the Examination Exception

Creative Commons

Intellectual property – guidance regarding exceptions to copyright

Property Office: Copyright

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