Skip to main content

Copyright for lecturers

There is no all-encompassing legal right to use copyrighted work for educational purposes without restriction. There are, however, several exceptions in law which allow instructors to use limited amounts of material under specific circumstances. The University also subscribes to several licences which enable teaching staff to re-use and request copies of material.

Along with the advice provided below, you may wish to consult The Copyright Explainer: an online guide designed to help you stay within the law when creating teaching materials.

Further guidance for staff can also be found in the Copyright for Staff organisation on Minerva. To enrol on the organisation, click the "Enrol" button in the bottom left panel when you have logged in.

Lecture slides

Small amounts of copyrighted material can be used in lecture slides, as long as you adequately cite and reference the source, and your use is fair to the copyright owner.

You may also request extracts from books and journals to be scanned for lecture slides by contacting Online Course Readings.

Where possible, you should use material that is out of copyright or has been made available under a licence that allows for re-use.

If you want to use content you have found on the internet, you should provide links rather than embedding material in your slides.


Under the terms of the University’s CLA Photocopying and Scanning Licence (PDF), instructors can make multiple photocopies of copyrighted material to hand out in lectures and tutorials.

Copies should not exceed 10% of the total pages of a work or:

  • one chapter from a book (whichever is greater)
  • one article from a journal issue (whichever is greater)
  • one poem or short story not exceeding 10 pages in length from an anthology
  • one case from a report of judicial proceedings.

Photocopies should only be given to registered staff and students of the University and only one copy should be made for each student on the module and staff member. Photocopies should only be made from books and journals owned by the Library.

You must not make copies of the same material for more than one module.

You can combine handouts into a course pack, subject to the above restrictions. These can be given out for free or sold at cost price only.

Music, films, video and television programmes

An exception to copyright law allows you to play music and show films, videos and television broadcasts during your lectures. This exception is classroom specific. If your lecture is being recorded, you should pause the recording while videos and music are playing.

In general, you should not upload or embed music and videos in Minerva unless you have permission from the copyright owner. You can embed material recorded under the University’s ERA Licence (eg videos recorded in Box of Broadcasts) and videos from YouTube, as long as you are sure that they have been posted with permission from the copyright owner.

If you would like to show films at a conference or public event you should apply for a ‘Single Title Screening Licence’ from Filmbank Media or the MPLC.


There is an exception to copyright law that allows you to show images in lectures, but in general you should only use images that are your own, have been made available under a licence that allows for reuse, or are out of copyright.

If you have secured permission to use or adapt images for your teaching, you should only take care to store them on a restricted-access website, such as Minerva.

Scanning course readings

If you would like to provide your students with digitised copies of extracts from books and journals you should contact Online Course Readings.

You should not upload material that you have scanned yourself unless you have permission from the copyright owner or are sure that it is no longer in copyright or has been issued under a licence that allows for reuse.


You can use a limited amount of copyrighted material in examination questions as long as you adequately cite and reference the source, and your use is fair to the copyright owner.

If you subsequently publish the exam question or digitise and make it available to other students, you should remove the copyrighted material.