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An introduction to copyright for staff

All staff and students at Cranfield University are expected to abide by copyright regulations in the course of their professional work, and to ensure that they understand what can and cannot be copied under the terms of the licences which are held by the University.

This guide explains the basic principles of copyright, and outlines what can be scanned and photocopied under the terms of the licences that we pay for.

Why copyright matters

Copyright law exists to protect the rights of the copyright owner, whilst also enabling their work to be used by others within certain limits. If an author believes that their copyright has been infringed by illegal copying, they are likely to sue for damages. If a Cranfield employee infringes an author’s copyright during the course of their work, the University will be sued, potentially resulting in severe financial penalties and damage to the University’s reputation.

Copying for your own use

Photocopying or scanning from printed material

How does it work?

By law, individuals making copies for their own use are responsible for ensuring that their copying is legal, and the University is not liable for infringing copies made for personal use. The basic principle is fairness; fair copying, in line with the limits below, is copying which does not damage the copyright owner’s income. Copying beyond these limits is not fair to the copyright owner, and could be felt to be infringing.

What can you do?

There are limits as to who can make the copy, and how many copies can be made:

  • You can only copy for yourself
  • You can only make one copy of the same work

There are also limits as to how much you can copy, for example:

  • One article from a single issue of a journal, or 10% (whichever is the greater)
  • One chapter, or 10% of a book (whichever is the greater)
  • One paper, or 10% of a set of conference  proceedings (whichever is the greater)

Using electronic sources

How does it work?

Cranfield University signs licence agreements with publishers and suppliers whenever the library subscribes to electronic resources (databases, ejournals and eBooks). Each licence agreement stipulates the terms of use of that particular item. It is your responsibility to make sure that you adhere to the terms of each licence when using an electronic resource.

What can you do?

The terms of each individual licence may vary slightly but in general you can:

  • Print a copy of an eJournal article for personal use (non-commercial research, teaching, private study)
  • Download a copy of an eJournal article for personal use (non-commercial research, teaching, private study)
  • Send a copy (print or electronic) to another authorised user of Cranfield University
  • Print or download part of an eBook (subject to copyright limits)

In general, you can't:

  • Systematically download or print articles from eJournals
  • Use articles for any commercial purpose
  • Send a copy (print or electronic) to anyone who is not an authorised user of Cranfield University

Most of our eBooks are governed by Digital Rights Management software which works out how much of each title you are allowed to print or download while still keeping within copyright law. The number of pages allowed is usually displayed when you select Print or Copy from the main menu of the eBook. It is linked to your login, so the software knows if you have already used some pages from that book.
These are only general guidelines. If there is any doubt about what is permitted or not permitted then users should check individual licences or contact the University Copyright Associate.

Obtaining copies of articles from another library

If you need an article, book chapter or conference paper which is not held by the Library, a copy can be obtained for you from another library (Interlibrary loan).

How does it work?

You need to place your request using the Library catalogue, and if the article is for your own personal (non-commercial) use, you also need to sign a copyright declaration form. If the copy is for commercial (i.e. revenue-generating) use, or if you want to be able to make further copies for class use, you do not need to fill in the form but you must indicate the commercial purpose of the copy on the request form. We will then contact you for a cost code to be debited.

What can you do?

If the copy you are requesting is for your own non-commercial use, you can request a single article from an issue of a journal, a single chapter from a book, or a single paper from a conference. The copy can’t be copied further, or passed on to anyone else.

If you need more than this amount, if the copy is for commercial use, or if you want to copy it for class use or to put onto Canvas, please contact us

Using material from the internet

Material placed on the internet is protected by copyright, in the same way as printed material.

How does it work?

There are no guidelines for copying from the internet which correspond with those for copying from paper originals, but the same basic principles can be assumed to apply.

What can you do?

It is safe to assume that anyone placing material on the internet does so with the intention of reaching as many people as possible, so copying for your own use is unlikely to cause any problems. However, if you intend to use images or substantial amounts of text in anything which is going to be published (for example, as a presentation which is publicly available on a website) it would be sensible to obtain permission from the copyright owner first.

Copying for your students

Cranfield University is licenced by the

and the

to make multiple copies of copyright material for class use. Certain limits still apply, but the terms of the licence permit multiple paper copies to be made, and in certain circumstances, a scanned copy can be placed on a VLE.

Photocopying articles to hand out in class

How does it work?

Members of staff can make multiple paper copies of copyright material for class use. You do not have to record the items that you have copied, but photocopies must be made from paper originals which are owned by the University. This means that the original could be held by the Library, owned by a School or Centre, or owned as a copyright-fee paid copy from another library.

Not everything is covered by the CLA licence, so if you do want to make multiple copies, please check the Library guidelines first, or contact the University Copyright Associate.

What can you do?

You can make as many copies as are necessary for each student and the tutor to have a copy each, within the following limits:

•    One article from a journal issue, or 10% (whichever is the greater)
•    One chapter, or 10% of a book (whichever is the greater)
•    One paper, or 10% of a set of conference proceedings (whichever is the greater)
•    A report of a single case from a volume of judicial proceedings, or 10% (whichever is the greater)

Putting electronic documents onto Canvas

It is often helpful to place required reading on your course portal, and our licence with the CLA does enable you do to that, provided that certain conditions are met.

How does it work?

The same basic principles apply to scanning and placing articles on a VLE as to paper-to-paper copying, but all digital copies must include as their first scanned page a copyright notice, and a digital recording sheet must be completed and sent to the Copyright Associate.  Please contact your Librarian for help with this.

Please visit the Copyright and Canvas section of this guide (in the tabs on the left hand side of the screen) for more information.

Copying for commercial projects

It is the responsibility of the person making or requesting the copy to decide whether or not its ultimate use is commercial. In this context, ‘commercial’ is taken to mean any use for which the primary purpose is the generation of money. Thus, a student thesis written for a company might well result in subsequent income generation for that company, but as its primary purpose at the time of writing is academic, it could be argued that it is not for commercial purposes.

What can you do?

If the article that you need is already held in your School, Centre or by the Library, there is no mechanism by which you can pay a copyright fee for using it, so it is reasonable to go ahead and copy it, within the same limits as you would for non-commercial use.

If the article or chapter that you need to copy is not held by your School, Centre or the Library, you can request it from another library via interlibrary loan.

Copying for publication

If you are writing something which is intended for publication, you will need to obtain permission from the copyright owner if you want to include anything which you have not written yourself, or which is already owned by Cranfield University.

If you are writing for publication by a commercial publisher, it is likely that they will handle the necessary copyright permissions, but it is advisable to find out exactly what your responsibilities are.

Your own copyright

If you are required to write for publication in the line of your work at Cranfield, it is reasonable to assume that the copyright in any work that you produce for teaching purposes belongs to the University, unless you have made special arrangements to retain your own copyright. This will not normally cause any problems, but should you leave and want to use the same material elsewhere, you need to be aware that there could be a conflict of interest, particularly if the work has been undertaken in conjunction with another company or organisation.

If your work is published by a commercial publisher, you should consider the terms under which you would like the work to be made available for others to use and re-use. The contract you sign with the publishers of your work will, in most cases, include some transfer of copyright. This is especially true of journal publications. If copyright is assigned to the publishers, you may no longer be able to reproduce your own work without permission from them. It is usually best to attempt to negotiate as broad a range of permissions as possible before publication.