Digital Copying

Copyright for Online Reading Lists

Most publishers do NOT allow PDFs of their content to be placed in the VLE. Please ensure that your Blackboard content is legal.

CLA Licence
The University’s Copyright Licensing Agency Licence allows us to:

  • scan and make digital copies of extracts from books, journals and magazines from titles published in the UK and 20 other countries and certain items in an additional 5 countries.
  • make copies of content from digital material including e-books, online journals and free-to-view websites
  • copy photographs, illustrations, charts and diagrams where they are included in an article or an extract
  • use these copies within the VLE via your online reading list

We can reproduce extracts of up to one chapter or article, or 10% of the whole (whichever is the greater)

Only dedicated staff can scan under the Licence – contact your Information Librarian for further details

e-books, e-databases and e-journals
Thousands of these resources are available via University subscription from the Library
Direct links can be made from within your reading list.

Newspaper articles
Please do not scan articles from hard copy newspapers in your possession for reproduction online. This is NOT permitted without permission.
Thousands of electronic articles are available via University subscription from the Library
Direct links can be made from within your reading list.

Diagrams, tables, graphs, illustrations and photographs
Unless the image can be copied under the terms of the University’s CLA Licence (see above), images are considered to be copyright material in their own right and permission is almost always needed, even for teaching and instruction purposes.

There are many 'free to use’ or 'Creative Commons’ images available online:

TV and Radio Recordings
The University subscribes to an Educational Recording Agency (ERA) Licence. It allows terrestrial TV and Radio programmes to be recorded, copied, and shown to audiences of University staff and students for educational purposes.
Broadcasts can be saved in either analogue or digital format, and can be accessed both on and off campus, anywhere within the UK.

Digital recordings are saved and hosted in the University’s TV and Radio streaming service BoB (Box of Broadcasts).

Contact your Information Librarian for information on the easiest way to get programmes recorded.

Music, Recordings and Multimedia
There are lots of 'free to use’ music databases available online:

Can I make hypertext links to a website?
Making a link to a website will not infringe copyright unless you reproduce substantial parts of the site. However, there is a risk of ‘passing off’ the content of the site as your own, and you may cause problems for the site if your link greatly increases traffic, or if it bypasses the site’s home page.

Permission should always be sought before making links to a website, unless the website Terms and Conditions clearly state that linking is permitted.

An additional advantage of seeking permission is that the site owner will be able to warn you of any potential problems, such as the imminent removal or reorganisation of parts of the site, or the potential instability of 'deep’ links.

To minimise the risk of a claim of passing off, external web pages should not be presented within a frame.

Can I scan or digitise extracts from books or journals and place them in Blackboard for students to use?
No you cannot. The University’s CLA licence only permits designated members of staff based in the Library to make digital copies of extracts from most UK-published books and journals. There are strict limits on what can be copied – usually no more than one chapter or 10% of a book, or one article or 10% of a journal (whichever is the greater).

The CLA licence CANNOT be used for so called 'textbook substitution’, i.e. the result if a particular combination of photocopies and/or digital copies made available through a course pack had an adverse impact on a student’s decision to buy one or more textbooks for their course. The CLA asserts that this would be in conflict with the principles of non-substitution as set out in the licence.

The CLA has worked with representatives of publishers and Universities UK, GuildHE and individual HEIs to publish a Good Practice Guide on creating coursepacks and it is available here

Can I digitise an entire book or journal?
No. It is highly unlikely that permission can be obtained to digitise entire books. However, the Library does have licensed access to some electronic books through various commercial e-book collections, such as Netlibrary.

Can I copy photographs or illustrations from websites and use them in Blackboard or a PowerPoint presentation?
This is inadvisable even if the site has no objection – they may have taken the illustration from elsewhere and be using it without permission. There are bone fide collections of images that may contain useful material, which can be used subject to the applicable terms and conditions.

Can I use clip art in Blackboard or a PowerPoint presentation?
Check the terms and conditions of the clip art package to see whether this is permitted.

Can I copy computer software?
Generally no, unless this is explicitly allowed by the software licence terms. However, it is permissible to make a single backup copy of a software program, in case of loss or damage. Note that this provision does not cover other material that may be stored on a CD-ROM, such as electronic books.

Are there any copyright issues in using wikis, blogs, podcasts and other user-generated content in Blackboard and online?
Content posted in wikis, blogs and podcasts might contain 3rd party copyright material, which may be illegal. For example, uploading, storing or archiving legal video files from YouTube on Blackboard, the University’s VLE (Virtual Learning Environment), for teaching and learning purposes is not itself illegal. However, if you are unsure of whether the video file on YouTube is legal or not, do not use it. To check the legal status of each video file on YouTube check its Terms and Conditions of Use (usually found at the bottom of each YouTube webpage) and Copyright Status.

What are the consequences of including infringing 3rd party content within your materials?
As well as facing a potential civil or criminal prosecution (including financial penalties), you run the risk of:
• Having to remove material immediately, which may affect the quality of your remaining content;
• Having to negotiate with the rights owner to continue using the material, which may come at a high fee or with strict conditions;
• Adversely affecting your reputation within the academic community;
• Losing the trust of rights owners who grant licences to use their material in a legitimate way.