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Copyright for Students

Personal Research and Private Study

It is very likely you will need to use copyright material - for example, books, journal articles or websites - when undertaking research for assignments or other personal study.

UK copyright law permits limited copying of any type of copyright material for non-commercial research or private study, which is one of the main Copyright Exceptions.  

Even more helpfully, UEA subscribes to the Copyright Licensing Association (CLA) scheme which enables students to photocopy from many of our books and journals for your own personal study.  

All staff and students may make photocopies under the terms of the CLA license for Higher Education. 

Use the CLA Check Permissions Tool to see if the work you want to use is covered without having to seek permission from the owner. Further help in understanding the results from the CLA Check Permissions Tool.  

If the work you want to reuse is covered, the license permits typically reuse or copying from works owned, or subscribed to, by UEA or its Library but not a fellow student's or lecturer's own copy.

How Much Can You Copy?  

Under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 Exception for Non-commercial research and private study, the amount that can be copied is not precisely specified but must take into account the concept of fair dealing. This means you must assess if there is any financial impact on the copyright owner because of your use. Where the impact is not significant, the use is likely to be acceptable under the principle of fair dealing

Under the CLA license, which can be used in tandem with the Exception, the guidance is much clearer and up to the following may be photocopied under the Licence: 

  • One whole chapter from a book 
  • One whole article from a journal issue 
  • 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 
  • One whole report of a single case from a volume of judicial proceedings 
  • Or 10% of the total publication, whichever is the greater 

The less of a work that you use, the more likely it is that your use may be considered fair.  

Provided you have only made a single copy of a limited (fair) amount of a copyright work which is directly relevant to your studies, and provided you acknowledge that work in your finished work, you are unlikely to be infringing anyone's copyright. So if any of the photocopied work is reproduced as part of of your assignment, this must be supported by sufficient acknowledgement and attribution as well.   

Moe details can be found on the poster CLA HE Notice for Display displayed nearby every photocopier on campus.  

You are not required to delete copies you have made on completion of your work; however any copies should not be distributed or sold.  

The important thing to note here is that student copying is limited here to photocopying – it’s only academic or administrative staff who can make and distribute scans under the CLA License.