skip to content

Open Research


What can I share with students in lectures or via the VLE?

No matter how you share material with students, the copyright of the material needs to be borne in mind.

Work that you have created but not previously published commercially can be used in your own teaching, including being uploaded to a VLE or the wider Internet. If you have published a work commercially the publishing agreement will outline what you are allowed to do in terms of distribution.

‘Fair dealing’ for illustration for instruction (s. 32 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (CDPA)) permits lecturers to copy and use brief or short extracts from literary and musical works, films, sound recordings and broadcasts as well as artistic works to illustrate or reinforce a teaching point in lectures and in restricted intranets such as Moodle, provided the original source is explicitly acknowledged.

The statutory exception of illustration for instruction is a ‘fair dealing’ exception, meaning that copying and use is limited to what is reasonably required for the purpose and must not impact adversely on exploitation of the work by its owner, i.e.:

  • Images such as photographs of works of art may be used as long as the purpose is for illustration for instruction and the images are provided in low-resolution.
  • Access to materials made under the illustration for instruction exception should be limited to those receiving the instruction, preferably to those enrolled on a particular course of study (to support the contention that the use is fair).
  • The material made available under the illustration for instruction exception must not be made available on publicly accessed websites such as Faculty or Departmental websites, in social media etc.

If the material for instruction does not meet the above requirements, e.g. sizable extracts are required or copying more than one or two figures/illustrations from a journal article or book chapter or providing a whole journal article or book chapter are required for instruction in a lecture and/or provision in Moodle to students on the course of study, the exception does not circumvent the need for “licences for use that does not fall under the ‘fair dealing’ exception”, hence the need to comply with the terms of the University’s licences with copyright licensing agencies, such as the University’s Licence with the Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA).

The University holds a Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA) Higher Education (for UUK/Guild HE members) Licence (‘CLA HE Licence’). This license allows book chapters/journal articles from hard copy editions to be photocopied and given to students or scanned and uploaded to a password-protected intranet (e.g. VLE).  This license comes with conditions which can be found here.  Outside, the CLA licence, lecturers can provide links to online material such as journal articles which can be accessed by those with a Raven password.

Fair dealing with a [copyright] work for the purpose of criticism or review, of that or another work or of a performance of a work, does not infringe any copyright in the work provided that it is accompanied by a sufficient acknowledgement unless this would be impossible for reasons of practicality or otherwise and provided that the work has been made available to the public. (s. 30(1) CDPA)

The criticism or review exception applies only to works that have been published, e.g. by authorised publication, performance, exhibition, playing or showing of the work in public, so that use of an unpublished work (e.g. extracts from an unpublished PhD dissertation) does not fall within fair dealing for the purpose of criticism or review (nor for the purpose of quotation, below).

Fair dealing for the purpose of criticism or review must be the genuine purpose of the use of the work, i.e.:

  • The quotation or extract or excerpt from the work must be directly relevant to the criticism or review undertaken of the work and not used merely for illustration;
  • The criticism or review, by text or voiceover, must directly accompany or run concurrently with the quotation, extract or excerpt of the work being criticised or reviewed, e.g. on the same or immediately preceding or following PowerPoint slide in a lecture or on the same page in a publication; with accompanying voiceover/commentary or text on screen in a video/film]; and
  • There must be a substantial and considered criticism or review of the work, with full attribution of the source work.  

In some instances, use of an entire work for the purpose of criticism or review may be justified, e.g. use of an image of a work of art.  Also, short extracts from a film or sound recording may be used (only as much as is reasonably required) if they can be justified for the intended fair dealing purpose of criticism or review of the source work.

In addition, the publishers listed below have signed up to the International Association of Scientific, Technical and Medical Publishers (stm)  ‘Guidelines for Quotation and Other Academic Uses of Excerpts from Journal Articles’ (January 2016) (enter ‘Guidelines for Quotations from Journal Articles’ in Document Library search) that allows the following uses in all media and future editions without obtaining explicit permission:

  • a maximum of two figures (including tables) from a journal article or five figures per journal volume (unless a separate copyright holder is identified in such a figure, in which event permission should be sought from that holder);
  • a single text extract of less than 100 words or a series of text extracts totalling less than 300 words for quotation…

The following conditions apply:

  • The purpose of the use is scholarly comment or non-commercial research or educational use;
  • Certain complex illustrations such as anatomical drawings; cartoons; maps; poetry; works of art; or photographs, will still require normal permissions request of publishers (or other copyright holder) as the journal article author(s) is unlikely to own the copyright in these;
  • Full credit should be given to the author(s) and publisher(s) of the material(s) used, consistent with normal scholarly practice; and
  • The quotation or excerpt must never be modified.

Publisher signatories:

American Chemical Society
BMJ Publishing Group Ltd
Institute of Physics
International Union of Crystallography
John Wiley & Sons (including Blackwell)
Oxford University Press journals
Portland Press Limited
Royal Society of Chemistry
SAGE Publications
Springer Science+Business Media
Taylor & Francis.

Copyright in a work is not infringed by the use of a quotation from the work (whether for criticism or review or otherwise) provided that—

(a) the work has been made available to the public,

(b) the use of the quotation is fair dealing with the work,

(c) the extent of the quotation is no more than is required by the specific purpose for which it is used, and

(d) the quotation is accompanied by a sufficient acknowledgement (unless this would be impossible for reasons of practicality or otherwise). (s. 30(1ZA) of the CDPA)

As a rule, the use of a quotation from a copyright work that has been ‘made available to the public’, i.e. by authorised publication, performance, exhibition, playing or showing of the work in public, is permitted if the use is ‘fair dealing’, meaning that ‘no more is quoted than is reasonably required for the purpose’ and provided there is ‘sufficient acknowledgement’ of the work and its author.

As with the fair dealing criticism or review exception, the fair dealing quotation exception does not permit quotation from unpublished works, e.g. unpublished PhD dissertations.

Caution is urged when considering relying on the fair dealing quotation exception to reproduce photographs, including images of paintings.  It is widely accepted that whilst the exception applies to all types of copyright work, copying a photograph is generally not allowed under this exception for the reason that it would not be considered fair dealing if the proposed use of a copyright work would conflict with the copyright owner’s normal exploitation of their work. For example, the ability to sell or license copies of photographs for inclusion in newspapers would be a normal exploitation.

Links to material that is lawfully available online such as YouTube videos, is acceptable as long as the source of the link is acknowledged.

Exceptions to copyright legislation are made for users with disabilities and libraries. Further information can be found here.

Full details on the materials which can be shared with students is available here, and specifically in Moodle.

Open Research Newsletter sign-up

Please contact us at to be added to the mailing list to receive our quarterly e-Newsletter.

The Office of Scholarly Communication sends this Newsletter to its subscribers in order to disseminate information relevant to open access, research data management, scholarly communication and open research topics. For details on how the personal information you enter here is used, please see our privacy policy