Copyright and teaching

Why is copyright relevant to you?

As a member of staff you will need to photocopy, scan, and download information from books, journals and web resources to support your teaching. You may want to include, or reuse these materials in teaching resources and on reading lists. This material will almost certainly be covered by copyright and under UK law there are limits to what you can legally copy and reuse.

The teaching resources that you produce will also be protected by copyright. The University of Nottingham has Copyright Database Rights and Associated Issues guidance. This distinguishes between research publications and textbooks, where the author retains copyright; and teaching materials, where the University asserts its ownership of copyright.

To learn more about copyright see the Basics section.

What can you do?

Our staying compliant checklist outlines the main ways you can use copyright materials within the law.

The most relevant to you are:

We have licences from the Copyright Licensing Agency, Newspaper Licensing Agency and Educational Recording Agency which cover use of text-based works, newspapers and television/radio broadcasts.

Exceptions allow you to copy a “fair” proportion of a work without the prior permission of the copyright owner. For teaching the main exceptions you can use are:

    • Illustration for instruction
    • Criticism, review and quotation
  • Open licences which allow some copying and re-use without seeking permission e.g. Creative Commons materials, Open Government Licence, Open Educational Resources.
  • Seeking permission from the copyright owner if none of the above covers your intended use.

It is also important to be aware of variations in copyright rules for different types of materials, e.g. music, images, as this can affect what you can do. See the Materials section for further advice.


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