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A copyright guidance resource for staff, students and researchers at Manchester Metropolitan University

What am I allowed to copy?

Copyright laws under 'fair dealing'

Copyright laws give you the right, called 'fair dealing', to copy limited amounts of a work without infringing the rights of the copyright owners. Under 'fair dealing' you may make one copy for yourself or for one other person for "non commercial research or private study". This copying may be done by using a photocopier, scanner or any other means of copying, for example via a mobile phone.

  • Books - generally it is accepted you can copy around 5% of a book or one chapter (whichever is greater).
  • Journal articles - it's fine to copy one article from an issue of a journal, even if the article comprises the whole issue.

Other material under fair dealing

  • One poem or short story of up to 10 pages from an anthology
  • The report of one case from law reports
  • If extracting from a work for 'criticism or review' you may copy one extract of up to 400 words, or several of less than 300 words, totalling less than 800 words.
  • One copy of a web page

Copyright FAQs: students

Advice for using images, video and audio resources

Finding images, audio and video online is now easier than ever, but while you may be able to use these things in your assessed work without permission, what if you want to publish that material? You may have created a blog, website or wiki for a module and be keen to make it publicly available. Here's a guide to how you can legally use these resources: 

Images - images can be copied for assessment but if you then publish your work you will need to ask for permission from the copyright owner to include the copyright material. Putting material online is considered publishing, so we recommend you use copyright free sources for images. You also need to include attribution - if you don't know how to, see Best Practices for Attribution

Recorded music - this is protected by copyright and must not be copied for any purpose without permission. Often copyright in a piece of music is owned by several people such as the performers, the songwriter and the composer. Copyright covers all formats including CD, vinyl and MP3s. 

TV, radio and video - you should be careful when using videos from sites such as You Tube as it's not always the copyright owner who posted the material. If you make any work available publicly you will need permission to include other people's work. Manchester Metropolitan University has an ERA (Educational Recording Agency) Licence which allows broadcast material to be recorded for educational use.

Where can I look for more information?