Skip to main content


Contact us - Library

The Library building is currently closed. For help with a variety of enquiries you can contact the Library Monday - Friday 9am - 5pm (excluding public holidays) by:



  Teesside University Library

Feedback on our services

Urgent help and support for mental health


Although the University has a responsibility to ensure that staff and students are aware of copyright and comply with the law, it remains the responsibility of the person making the copy to ensure they do not infringe copyright.

The information within this guide does not constitute legal advice. The Copyright Licensing Co-ordinators for the University are based in Legal and Governance Services.

What is Copyright?

The law governing copyright in the UK is the 1988 Copyright, Design and Patents Act (CDPA) and amendments. The latest amendments have been passed into law on 1 June 2014.

The act can be found here

 It exists to protect the intellectual standing and economic rights of creators and publishers of all literary, dramatic, artistic, musical, audiovisual and electronic works. A work can qualify for copyright protection provided that:

  1. the work is original and
  1. the author is a qualifying person (a British citizen, subjects or protected persons under the British Nationality Act 1981, a person domiciled in the UK or body incorporated under the laws of the UK, any citizen of any of the Member States of the EU); or
  1. in the case of a literary work, the work was first published in the UK.

Provided the above criteria are met copyright protection is automatic.

Copyright for students - private study and research

You may make a single print or digital copy of anything in copyright for;

Non commercial:

  • Private study or research
  • Illustration for instruction or teaching

And for:

  • Quoting from a work
  • Caricature, parody or pastiche
  • News reporting, except for photographs


The amount you copy must be 'fair and justifiable'

  • You must not reproduce the copy, sell it. or share it online
  • You must acknowledge the source where reasonably practical


Fair Dealing

The Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 permits certain activities which would otherwise be infringements of copyright. These are copying for:

  • Research for a Non-commercial Purpose or Private Study
  • Education
  • Criticism or Review
  • News Reporting.


It is the responsibility of the person wishing to copy to decide if the copy is being made in support of commercial or non-commercial research, taking into to consideration what is known at the time of the copying. Research being undertaken for a commercial organisation is highly likely to be research for a commercial purpose and fall outside the exception. Therefore, any copying undertaken in such a situation will constitute copyright infringement without consent from the copyright owner.


Copying for instructional use is permitted provided it is done by the lecturer or student and is essential for illustration. Copies should make use of as small an amount of the work as is needed to make the necessary point for instruction. Where possible acknowledgement should be provided. This includes copying for the purposes of examination.

Criticism or Review

Reproducing a copyright work for the purpose of criticism and review is not an infringement of copyright provided it is accompanied by sufficient acknowledgement of the source. [For criticism and review purposes, fair dealing allows copying of up to a limit of 400 words in one extract or several extracts of less than 300 words and totaling no more than 800 words. One quarter of a whole poem, not exceeding more than 40 lines, may be copied.]

News Reporting

Providing sufficient acknowledgement of the source is given, anyone may copy from a work (but not photographs) for the purposes of reporting current events. No acknowledgement is required for reporting done by sound recording, film, broadcast or cable programme.

What are Creative Commons?

Creative Commons licenses allow creators to give public permission for others to use their work. The standardised licenses allow the copyright holder to change the terms from 'all rights reserved' to 'some rights reserved' and provide a link to the relevant license so users are aware of their ability to reuse the work.

Creative Commons licenses are not an alternative to copyright but rather work alongside copyright to enable creators to modify copyright terms to best suit their needs and the needs of their audience.

If you are using a work under a Creative Commons license it is important to adhere to the terms as failure to do so could be considered a breach of copyright.

For more information see: Creative Commons

Want to license your own work?

You can use the license picker to add a Creative Commons License to your own work: Creative Commons: Choose