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Copyright guidance

Assistance with matters relating to copyright for Edinburgh Napier University staff and students

Copyright issues for classes

If you recommend the same articles or chapters for classes frequently, it might be better to see if you can get them scanned for Moodle.  See our section on Digital copying.


Frequently Asked Questions


Our best advice to answer these....

May I make multiple photocopies of a book chapter or a journal article to hand out to my class?
Often yes, but it depends whether the book or journal is covered by the Copyright Licensing Agency Higher Education licence.  Full information is in the User Guidelines on the CLA Higher Education Licence Documents page. You can use the Check Permissions tool to see if your publication is covered.

If it is, then under the CLA terms you may distribute one copy per student of any one article or chapter, or up to 10% of a book or journal, whichever is greater. This includes distance learners, but in the case of overseas users, copies must be made in the UK. You must be copying from originals owned by the University, not copies, unless they are special copyright-cleared copies that have been ordered by the Library. 

Official publications are subject to different copyright regulations, which are sometimes quite generous for higher education - see our section on Copyright: The Facts for more information.
What material does the CLA Higher Education Licence cover? 
The CLA Higher Education licence covers most books and journals published in the UK, Ireland, the USA, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, most European countries, and a range of International Terriitories. There are some exceptions to this, and the best way to be certain whether your item is covered is to use the Check Permissions search tool on the CLA Higher Education Licence page. Publishers may also opt to print prominently on their publication that they do not participate in CLA.


May I create a course reader to be handed out to every student? 
Yes, on the same terms as the first answer above. All items must comply with the CLA terms, or be separately cleared with the publisher. You may also recover your costs from students if you wish.

The licence is not intended to enable course packs to become direct substitutes for textbooks.


May I make multiple copies of a newspaper article to hand out to my class?
Yes, if it falls under the terms of our Newspaper Licensing Agency license (now provided for us by the CLA). The scheme covers all UK national newspapers and selected regional papers. Use the Check Permissions search tool on the CLA Higher Education Licence page to see if the newspaper you want is covered by the HE Licence.


May I place a photocopy of a book chapter or a journal article in the library's Reserve Collection for the students to read and copy? 
Yes, but the CLA photocopying conditions apply here also. This is viewed as likely to encourage copying from a copy, and is only permitted for items covered under the same terms as the CLA Higher Education licence, and which are owned by the institution. 

For other CLA items, but which we do not own, it will be permissible if we can obtain a copyright-cleared copy from the British Library, otherwise publisher permission would have to be explicitly sought. 

An explanatory cover sheet should be attached to all photocopied items in the Reserve Collection.


May I place copies of a course reader in the library's Reserve Collection?
Yes, but the same extra restrictions apply as in the answer above. All items in the course reader must comply with these terms.


May I make multiple copies of an article I have printed out from an online journal for students?
Possibly, but you would need to be certain that the source publication is covered under the CLA Higher Education licence, or that the publisher specifically permits it. The library can advise you on this. On the whole it may well be simpler just to provide linking information to the online journal.  Please see our Library helpsheet on Adding library e-resource links to Moodle for help with this​.


May I make copies of material for a visually-impaired student outside the limits of the CLA Higher Education licence?
Yes, we may be allowed to do this, but generally under specific conditions, and the university's Disability & Inclusion team will normally handle such requests.  An item that a visually-impaired person is able to lawfully use may be copied into an accessible format, e.g. Braille, tape recording, large print, provided there is no suitable commercially-available format that could be purchased instead. The institution should own a copy of the original published edition.


Do we have to keep records of copying made under the CLA Higher Education licence? 
No, but the CLA can select institutions to take part in surveys of all material copied under the scheme.


May I record a TV or radio programme at home and put it into library stock?
Yes. You may record broadcasts from terrestrial TV, freeview, cable & satellite or radio. 

Merchiston Library staff can also make recordings for you, subject to recording capacity, if you give us a few days warning. We regret we currently have no facilities for recording from cable or satellite. Any recordings that are to be kept must be labelled in accordance with our ERA licence - more information at the Education Recording Agency (ERA) website. We regret we are not able to record material for you for other purposes than for library stock, or to be added to the TV Recordings section of the Online Video Server.

Broadcasts must not be adapted, though extracts may be made. Credits should be included. The ERA license does not permit the capture of film stills even for educational purposes, as they then become visual images, which are subject to different copyright rules. Internet broadcasts may be captured if they are broadcast at scheduled times, and it is also now permitted to download from the BBC and Channel 4 catch-up services.  Permission may need to be sought for any other services.

Staff and students can borrow recordings from the library, providing they agree to abide by the regulations:

  • educational use only, no copying of recordings, no commercial use.

We are also now adding recordings to the University's Online Video Service - to see these you need to log in to the service and search for TV Recordings.  These can be viewed remotely by staff and students, but please note that recordings may not be made available to overseas students by any means.


May I show videos or recordings from TV programmes to my class?
Yes, providing it is for educational purposes rather than recreational. Recordings should not be copied, you should use the originals, or off-air recordings provided by the Library.


May I project photographs, illustrations or graphs for a class in a lecture?
Yes, you may copy or download illustrations and put them in a PowerPoint presentation or project by other means, or in a lecture if you acknowledge the source.  

If you want to include them in handouts via Moodle this is regarded as multiple distribution, and you should follow the procedures outlined in our page on Digital Copying for Moodle.  For items that fall outside the CLA licence, you should ensure you have permission to use the images in the way you intend.



Please note these pages are intended to offer guidance on the things we think you really need to know about copyright, for print and electronic resources. We are not legal experts, information given on this page is believed to be accurate, but advice is taken at your own risk. Please inform us if you believe anything on these pages is incorrect.

The information provided relates only to Edinburgh Napier University staff and students, other members of the library may be subject to different conditions.