Copyright and teaching

Most published books, journals, images, and music are subject to copyright restrictions. This page provides information about copyright for teaching purposes.

Please read our copyright tips for teaching during COVID-19.

As an academic you will invariably want to use copyright works in some way to support your teaching. For example, you may want to:

  • hand out photocopied or scanned extracts from books and journals
  • include images in your lecture slides
  • add digitised materials to your reading lists

Staying compliant

There are a number licenses and exceptions under copyright law that allow you to use copyright works for educational purposes.


Copyright Licensing Agency's Higher Education licence

The Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA) Higher Education blanket licence permits multiple copies of certain types of copyright works to be made for all students on a particular module and for the tutor, but the limitations detailed below will apply.

Your copies must fall within the limits of whichever is the greater, 10% or:

  • one chapter of a book
  • one article of a journal issue
  • one paper of one set of conference proceedings
  • one report of a single case from a report of judicial proceedings
  • one short story or one poem of not more than 10 pages in an anthology of short stories or poems

Copies can be made from UWE Bristol Library's print or electronic collections and can be photocopied or distributed electronically via Blackboard.

All digital copying must be reported annually to the CLA, therefore all digitisation requests must be processed by the Library Digitisation Service. The Library Digitisation Service will check your course materials for compliance with CLA HE Licence terms, scan course material for you and advise you of your options where this is not possible.

Make a digitisation request directly from your reading list

Make a digitisation request using an online form

Licensed e-resources

All electronic resources, including databases, e-journals and e-books are made available through subscriptions handled by the Library. Access to these resources is allowed under the terms of the licenses drawn up by the supplier, all staff and students at UWE Bristol are responsible for ensuring that they comply with these licenses.

General rules:

  • You must not share any material with unauthorised users (ie non-members of UWE Bristol)
  • all use must be for non-commercial purposes ie private study, teaching or research
  • You must not modify the text of any copyright material

Not all database providers permit access by students and staff at UWE Bristol partner institutions (eg Hartpury College). The database descriptions on the databases page will tell you whether the database provider authorises you to access that particular database.

Other licences

Below is a list of links to the major licences bought by the University. For further information about these licences, please Ask a Librarian.

Educational Recording Agency (ERA)

The ERA licence permits UWE Bristol to record TV and radio programmes off-air, and make copies, for non-commercial educational purposes. It also permits us to show these recordings as part of teaching.

Newspaper Licensing Agency (NLA)

The NLA licence permits UWE Bristol to copy and reuse content from print and digital newspaper publications, as part of teaching.

Ordnance Survey

The Ordnance survey licence allows UWE Bristol to use Ordnance Survey mapping data as part of their teaching.

Copyright exceptions

There are some exceptions within the law which allow you to copy material under certain circumstances without infringing copyright.

Illustration for instruction

Illustration for instruction is usually interpreted to mean that a copy can be used to illustrate or reinforce a teaching point but cannot be copied merely for aesthetic purposes to make a presentation look more attractive. The copying of works in any medium (including films, images and broadcasts) is permitted as long as:

  • the use of the work is used solely to illustrate a point
  • the use of the work is not for commercial purposes
  • the use is 'fair dealing'
  • it is accompanied by sufficient acknowledgment

Copying material for use in examinations can also rely on this exception so long as it falls within these criteria.


  • A lecturer can take a small number of clips from a DVD or website and put them on Blackboard, accompanied by a sufficient acknowledgement, for students on a particular course to access and use as part of their learning.
  • Images, such as photographs of works of art, can be included in a PowerPoint presentation and put on Blackboard as long as their purpose is for illustration. Access should be limited to students on a particular course and for the duration of the course.
  • Event capture technology can be used to record a lecture which includes third party copyright material used to illustrate a teaching point. Only so much of the copyright work can be used as is necessary for illustration for instruction.  Access to the recorded lecture should be password protected via Blackboard rather than being available openly online.

Criticism, review and quotation

Copying and use of extracts

This exception allows educational establishments to make copies of extracts of all types of copyright works, except broadcasts and standalone artistic works (such as single images), provided the copy is made for teaching purposes and accompanied by sufficient acknowledgement. No more than 5% of a work can be copied in any period of 12 months.

This exception only applies where there is no licence available for the work. Therefore, for works covered by the Copyright Licensing Agency Ltd (CLA) licence, the copying must be carried out under the terms of the CLA license.


A non-UK publication is excluded under the CLA Licence and there are no other licences that apply. Under this exception, a lecturer could add an extract to Blackboard or a reading lists provided it does not exceed the extent limits of 5% of a work in any 12 month period, and the purpose of copying and making the chapter available is limited to teaching for a non-commercial purpose.

Linking to electronic journals and books rather than copying

Instead of making a copy, you may wish to link to the online item on the publisher's web site in order to avoid infringing copyright and licence limitations. Please use and view the Library's Using collection on the staff intranet for further information.

Fair dealing

The exceptions above only apply if the use of the work is ‘fair dealing’. ‘Fair’ is not defined, but the principle is not to unfairly deprive rights holders of a financial return, by copying only a fair amount. For practical purposes, a reasonable proportion is: a single copy of no more than one chapter or article or up to 5% of a published work.

Examples of copyright in practice

Copying images for teaching

If the images you are using are in your presentation or class handouts are to illustrate or reinforce a teaching point, you can rely on a copyright exception to include these images without infringing copyright. See 'Illustration for Instruction' under the exceptions listed above.  This exception cannot be used however if you are using images purely to make your teaching materials look more attractive.

Finding images to spice up your presentation can be a challenge, Just because an image is easily accessible on the internet does not mean that it is in the public domain as far as copyright is concerned. Fortunately there are lots of images available which have been licensed under Creative Commons licenses. There are different types of Creative Commons license but all of the CC licences require that users attribute the creator of the work.

You can use Advanced search in Google to find images that are licensed for reuse and Creative Commons Search lets you search across a range of CC licensed resources (images and media) provided by various organisations including Flickr and Wikimedia Commons. There are also many other image resources offering copyright-free images that can be used for educational purposes.

The CLA HE Licence also allows the copying of illustrations, graphs, charts, etc., whether full page or embedded within a page, for all students on a particular module. Please get in touch with the Library Digitisation Service if you wish to do this.

Sharing TV and radio recordings

The Educational Recording Agency (ERA) licence permits the University to record programmes from a range of TV channels and for them to be recorded onto DVD.

The licence also allows the University to subscribe to the online BoB service, which can be used by students and staff in the UK to record TV and radio programmes, both for teaching and private study, and then to view the programmes in their web browser and via Blackboard.

The ERA licence also permits UWE Bristol students and staff in the UK to access and download content from on-demand services such as the BBC iPlayer, 4-on-Demand, ITV Player, Demand 5, and Clic (S4C) for educational purposes. Linking to these services from within Blackboard is permitted, but due to the short-term availability of many of the recordings, BoB may offer a better solution.

Event Capture

As long as the copyright works used in your lecture are covered by a copyright license, an open license such as Creative Commons, or fall under a copyright exception such as illustration for instruction then recording the will not affect your use of these materials. The rules are the same for recorded lectures as they are for live lectures and therefore acknowledgement of the source should always be given and the use of the material should be fair. Further information for staff can be found on our Event Capture pages on the staff intranet.

Video materials

It is permitted to use event capture when showing ERA licensed media during a lecture as long as the use is for educational purposes only, however the lecture recording process will only make a very low-grade copy of any videos you show in class via the computer, so this is not a recommended way to make such materials available to your students.

If you wish to use any film and sound recordings including material from on-demand services or Box of Broadcasts in a lecture you want to record, it is best practice to pause the recording during the video or edit these parts out of the recording later (before making available to students). Where web-based video (eg Box of Broadcasts or YouTube) has been used in a lecture it is preferable to provide a link instead, as your students will then benefit from the video content outside of the lecture.

Special consideration should be given to the following:

  • Film and sound recordings which are used under the University's ERA licence, such as those from Box of Broadcasts (BoB) and other media platforms, are not intended for use by students overseas. Best practice is to pause the lecture capture while the material is used, and include a link to the material in the lecture notes. If this isn't possible, caution should be exercised before sharing the lecture capture with students overseas.
  • iTunes, YouTube or Vimeo material. The copyright resides with the creator of the video, so you would need to obtain permission directly from them (YouTube or iTunes cannot grant this on their behalf). Some of these materials may be available for educational use or under a CC licence. While it may be permissible to show these recordings for educational purposes, you should exclude this content from a recorded lecture and provide a link to the material instead. It is best practice to do this for all web-based video content.
  • Unpublished material which has not previously been made available to the public

Risks when using copyright works

Unfortunately, knowing whether you can re-use copyright works isn't always straightforward and sometimes there will be an element of interpretation and risk. The penalties which could be incurred for infringement of copyright can include reputational damage to yourself and the university and also financial penalties. Often disputes can be resolved through removal of the work in question but it is important to be aware of all of the potential consequences to infringement.

When using copyright materials, it is useful to consider how you are sharing a resource as this will impact on the risks involved. For example, including a small extract of a textbook in your teaching materials and sharing this with your students via Blackboard would be considered low risk, as the material would only be accessible to students enrolled on your module. If however you shared the same extract on your personal website, this would be considered high risk as the material would be openly available on the web and therefore accessible to everyone.

Always consider whether your use of a copyright work is 'fair dealing' before copying.

Further information

To discuss your teaching requirements further, please contact the Library.

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