Copyright and Teaching

As an academic you will want to reuse material such as extracts or chapters from a book, journal articles, information or images from the web for teaching.

Small extracts of material

There is an Illustration for Instruction exception in UK copyright law which allows extracts of copyright material to be included in teaching materials for the purposes of instruction. There are a number of considerations to take into account if you wish to rely in this exception:

  • all types of copyright works can be copied for the sole purpose of illustration for instruction – to illustrate a teaching point
  • use is subject to fair dealing - so copying is limited to what is required for the purpose and must not impact on the rights holder
  • copying must be done by a person giving or receiving instruction
  • copying must be for a non-commercial purpose only
  • the work must be sufficiently acknowledged

Books chapters and journal articles

Copying and making digital copies of whole chapters or articles from published materials is unlikely to be covered by the Illustration for Instruction exception.  Instead it will probably be covered by the Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA) Higher Education Licence.

TickThe CLA licence covers the photocopying and scanning from most, but not all, UK publications, and a number of US and international publishers.

It allows:

Tickmultiple photocopies of a chapter or article from many copyright protected printed books, journals and magazines

Tickdigital Copies of a chapter or article from many copyright protected printed books, journals and magazines

The easiest way to check whether a publication is covered by the licence is to input the ISBN into the Check Permission box on the Copyright Licensing Agency website.  Remember to select Higher Education from the drop down menu after your initial search. 

Please note: there are a number of requirements relating to this licence (see below) and due to these restrictions only designated people may place scanned material in a VLE.

Please see the section Copyright and Scanning under the CLA Licence for further information.

  • Copies should be made from either an original of the book, journal or magazine owned by the University OR
  • a copyright fee paid copy of a chapter/article AND
  • scanned materials have to be placed on a University site, we use readinglists@leicester
  • materials must only be made available to students registered on the relevant course of study, and only for the duration of the module/course

For each digital copy there are specific obligations:

  • to append a Copyright Notice
  • to record and report bibliographic and course based details to CLA

By submitting a digitisation request through readinglists@leicester the Copyright Service will do this for you.

If a work is not covered by the CLA licence, permission to copy should be obtained. For help contact


Film, sound recordings and off-air broadcasts are covered by another licence (see below).

What if I want to hand out photocopies to my students?

As long as the copying is within the CLA guidelines above you can provide students with a photocopy. The amount you can copy is restricted to whichever is the greater of:

  • Up to 10% or one chapter of a book
  • Up to 10% or one article from a single issue of a journal
  • Up to 10% or one paper of one set of conference proceedings
  • Up to 10% of an anthology or one short story or one poem of not more than 10 pages
  • up to 10% or one case of one report of judicial proceedings
Newspaper articles from the UK nationals and a limited number of UK regional newspapers can be copied for teaching up to a maximum of 50 copies. For further information please see Copyright and University Licences.

Students and the tutor can be provided with ONE copy only.

If a work is not covered by the CLA licence, permission to copy must be obtained if it is not out of copyright. For help contact

What if I want to put a course pack together?

Please see the Copyright and Printed Course Packs or Copyright and Scanning under the CLA licence sections.

How can I use the electronic resources provided by the Library in my teaching?

Electronic books and journals and full-text materials are provided by the Library under licence from the publisher. Linking to theses resources is permissible, and in many cases parts of the resource can be incorporated into teaching material, but it must be appropriately acknowledged.

What if I want to use copied material in a lecture?

Scanned material can be used in a PowerPoint presentation for example, as long as it meets the Illustration for Instruction criteria or CLA guidelines above, you have the rights holder’s permission, or the material is out of copyright.

The CLA licence permits use of images from many published books and journals. Full acknowledgement must be given.

Can I place copied material on Blackboard?

The CLA licence allows for a digital copy of many chapters or articles from published materials to be put into readlinglists@Leicester, and the list can then be linked to Blackboard.

Digital material scanned under the licence can only be made available on a reading list by the Copyright Service or a 'Designated Person'. Please see the readinglists@Leicester digitisation pages for further information.

If a work is not covered by the CLA licence, permission to copy must be obtained if it is not out of copyright. For help contact

What if I want to use film, sound recordings, off-air broadcasts and images in my teaching?

Commercial film, video or DVD can be shown to students for educational purposes at an educational establishment.

The University also pays for an ERA+ licence which allows you to use material that you have recorded off-air from most UK broadcasters. For details on specific broadcasters covered by this licence, please see Copyright and University Licences.

All copies of broadcasts must be labelled with the date of broadcast, title, and broadcast channel. Use TRILT to find this information and to retrospectively obtain material. Contact AVS Technical Support, phone ext 2919 to request an off-air recording. Email for advice and assistance.

Use of ERA recorded material within Blackboard or the medical le can be accessed off-campus, but only within the UK.

There are some sources for images which you can use under certain conditions without having to seek individual permission.

Can I use copied materials when setting an exam paper?

Yes. Copyright law permits the inclusion of a limited amount of copied material in a closed examination paper, as long as there is sufficient acknowledgement. The only exception is printed music.

How can I support visually impaired or disabled students?

You can make enlarged or reduced size copies of a complete book, magazine or journal article for use by the visually impaired, as long as the material is not already commercially available in the required format and the original copy has been bought by the University. Please contact the AccessAbility Centre for further help.

What if I want to use my own published material for teaching?

This will depend on the agreement you have signed with your publisher. It is not always the case that you can freely make multiple copies or a digital copy.

Is the teaching material I create covered by copyright?

Where the material has been created by an employee in the course of their employment, the employer is the first owner of copyright in the work unless there is an agreement to the contrary.

Can I reuse teaching material created by a colleague during the course of their employment at the University of Leicester?

As the University technically owns the copyright in the work you can reuse some works e.g. powerpoints in the course of your teaching, but it is good practice to approach the colleague beforehand to make them aware, and to clearly indicate on the materials (for example on the first page) that they are the original creators of the work.  

Further Information

Please contact us if you have any questions which are not answered above.

Share this page:

Need further help?


Telephone: 0116 229 7399

Internal Telephone: 7399

Fax: 0116 252 2066

Succeed in your studies

Learn at Leicester gateway to help and resources for academic skills.

Visit Succeed in your studies - the University's gateway to all the resources and services available to support your learning and academic progress.

Ask Us

Image of a question mark used for the Library's Ask Us service.

Need help? Ask Us!


We value your suggestions and feedback, please make a comment.