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Copyright

What Is 'Fair Dealing?'

The law permits the copying of copyright material for private study and research within certain limits and this permission is sometimes referred to as 'fair dealing' or a legally permitted copy. Currently it is uncertain whether fair dealing extends to scanning, digitising or downloading but some guidance is provided below.

Fair dealing is not a legal right and is strictly limited as follows:

  • the purposes of research for a non-commercial purpose
  • the purposes of private study which must not be directly or indirectly for a commercial purpose
  • criticism and review
  • reporting of current events


The accepted guidelines for what constitutes fair dealing are:

  • one article from an issue of a journal
  • up to one chapter or 5% (whichever is greater - but no more than 5%) of a book
  • one poem or a short story or up to ten pages from an anthology
  • up to 10% (maximum) 20 pages per short book (without chapters), report, or pamphlet
  • one separate illustration, diagram, photograph or map up to A4 size, but, if an integral part of articles/chapters, they may be included in the extracts identified above.

Can I Scan/Digitise Printed Material Under Fair Dealing For Personal Use?

It is probably reasonable for you to scan a copy of copyright material for your own personal use provided that it is within the guidelines for fair dealing outlined above.

Can I Make A Copy From Electronic Works For Personal Use Or Private Study?

Access to and use of, the Library's subscription-based electronic resources is subject to individual contractual agreements and licenses with vendors. These agreements impose certain conditions and restrictions on use, all users of these resources must comply with the particular terms of use associated with the resource, especially those terms that specify restrictions on the amount you may download or store electronically.

In general most electronic resources give permission to:

  • read an article or book on screen
  • print a copy of an e-journal article, a chapter of a book, or database search results for personal use.
  • download a copy of an e-journal article, a chapter of a book, or database search results for personal use.

It is not permitted to:

  • use the information retrieved for commercial or business purposes
  • give your username and password to anyone else.
  • to download excessive portions of the resource into your own file-space or other electronic media
  • pass on any information retrieved to a person who is not authorised to use the resource or republish the material in any form
  • make multiple print or electronic copies of e-journal articles*
  • make e-journal articles available through a computer network without express permission of the rights holder*
  • remove, alter, or obscure any copyright notices or text from any e-journal article.


*Multiple copying of the same item is not permitted under copyright law or 'fair dealing' but is permitted in some circumstances within the terms of the University's HE license with the Copyright Licensing Agency.