Copyright and Studying

As a student you will want to photocopy or download material, e.g. book chapters, journal articles, information or images web pages etc. This material is likely to be covered by UK copyright law, which limits the amount of material that you can legally copy. Copyright basics gives more information.

Infringement of copyright by University of Leicester staff and students is taken seriously and further action will be taken.

What can I legally photocopy?

TickYou can make ONE copy of what is considered a ‘fair’ amount for your own private study.

Copying is restricted to whichever is the greater of:

  • Up to 5% or one chapter of a book
  • Up to 5% or one article from a single issue of a journal
  • Up to 5% or one paper of one set of conference proceedings
  • Up to 5% of an anthology or one short story or one poem of not more than 10 pages
  • up to 5% or one case of one report of judicial proceedings

This applies if you are using a photocopier, scanner or any other device.

Cross You must not copy material for anyone else, it has to be for your own personal use.

What can I legally download and/or print from the Internet for personal use?

Tick Material on the web is usually copyright protected. In the absence of any clear guidance consider applying the 'fair' copying terms above. Music, films and sound recording are NOT covered by 'fair' copying. .
Tick The University Library provides many electronic journals, books and databases. These are supplied subject to licence agreements with individual publishers. Generally you can download and/or print ONE copy for personal use.
Cross Do not download works in their entirety or systematically, for example an entire journal issue.
Cross Do not share your username and password with anybody.
Cross Do not email or transfer legally downloaded material to anyone else.
Cross Music, films and sound recordings are NOT covered by 'fair' copying, so always look for permission. The Creative Commons symbol helps identify sites that allow legal sharing.
Cross Material on the web can be there illegally, for example pirated material. Do not download or link to this material.
Cross Do not use "peer-to-peer" file-sharing software.
Tick You must adhere to the University's IT Services Regulations.

What about material provided by my lecturer?

CrossCopies provided by your lecturer or in a course pack should not be further copied as this would break the University's copyright licences.

What about using copied material in assessed work or a dissertation?

Tick You can include copied material in your assessed work for your assessor, but it must be fully referenced, or you could be accused of plagiarism as well as infringing copyright. For help with referencing visit Citing references and see your departmental guidelines for more information on avoiding plagiarism.
Tick Diagrams, illustrations, photographs, sound recordings and film extracts can be included in assessed work, with full acknowledgement.
Tick Short excerpts of printed music can be included in assessed work provided it is not for performance purposes.
Cross Assessed work which includes copied material can only be given to your assessors. It cannot be used in other ways, for example in future publication, in exhibitions or given to a potential employer, unless permission has been granted by the rights holder.

What about using copied material in my thesis?

TickThere may be copyright restrictions to using third-party material in your thesis, if it is not used for the purposes of criticism or review. In particular, be careful about the inclusion of images, diagrams etc. Always ensure you correctly reference.

If you need further advice on the use of such material, please contact the Copyright Administrator.

See the section on eTheses for more information of for further help, contact

What if I create web pages?

Publishing web pages using University of Leicester servers and virtual learning environments is governed by the University's Internet Code of Practice

Tick You can link to an external web site, but always link to the home page. If you wish to 'deep link' to a page below the homepage, always obtain written permission from the rights holder.
Cross Do not use frames that make it look as if someone else's web site is your work.

Does copyright apply to work I have created?

Tick Yes.Your essays, emails, exam scripts, dissertations and other original material you create in the form of projects or assignments all constitute copyright material. You are the rights holder, but the University requires you to submit copies as a course requirement for the purpose of marking and assessment, and may require you to deposit copies of material in a departmental collection or the University Library.

Further Information

If you need additional help please Contact us.

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