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Copyright for Teaching


Educators regularly need to use 3rd party copyright work in their teaching. Common misapprehensions are:
•    It is for educational use so I can freely copy.
•    Freely accessible web content is copyright free so I can copy it.
•    I have full acknowledged the source - that’s all I need to do.

UK copyright law uses legal exceptions and licences to enable teachers (and others)  to use copyright materials legally while being fair to, and acknowledging, the creator. Note that UK Fair Dealing is not the same as Fair Use in the U.S. UK law is more restrictive. What is fair in the U.S. may be juged to be an infringement in the UK.

Fair Dealing
Many of the exceptions require Fair Dealing. There is no statutory definition of fair dealing. It will always be a matter of judgement; what would a reasonable person consider "fair" but you should ensure sure that:

  • the use of the work does not compete with the rights holder's normal commercial exploitation.
  • you only copy the quantity required. 
  • you acknowledge the rights holder. 

Copyright exceptions

These are the exceptions to copyright with links to UK legislation.

Section 29: Research and private study Individuals may copy  an insubstantial amount for their own use - subject to Fair Dealing and not to pass on to others. This is usually judged to be  one chapter of a book, 5% or a  work or one article in a a journal issue.
Section 29A: Copies for text and data analysis for non-commercial research If you have lawful access to a work you may copy it to carry out text and data mining. Contract terms aimed at preventing researchers copying in order to perform text and data mining are unenforceable.
Section 30: Criticism, review, quotation and news reporting Introduced in 2014 this exception applies not just to educators. The use of the extracts must be only what is required for the purpose and not for decoration or enhancement. Fair Dealing applies and this section only applies to published works
Section 30A Caricature, parody or pastiche Introduced in 2014 you can use any kind of copyright material: film, song, artworks etc in order to create a parody or pastiche.  Contractual terms seeking to prevent or restrict  this are unenforceable but Fair Dealing applies.
Section 31A and 31B: Accessible copies for disabled users As long as they have lawful access to the work an institution can make an accessible copy of the whole or part of a work for users with disabilities. Fair Dealing does not apply as the one might need to supply a whole work in an accessible format.
Section 32: Illustration for instruction

All types of copyright works can be copied for the sole purpose of illustration for instruction (teaching), including the setting of exams. One can use extracts from films, sound recordings and broadcasts as well as text, music and artistic works in lecture slides to illustrate a teaching point. Fair dealing applies and the use must be non-commercial.

Section 34: Performing, playing or showing work in course of activities of educational establishment As long as the purpose is educational and the audience consists of students or staff then an educational establishment can show film, or video content in the classroom. Fair dealing does not apply so you could show an entire film or programme. (It must have been legally acquired.)
Section 35: Recording of broadcasts The Educational Recording Agency Licence (ERA) permits us to make and store recordings from many free to air channels and radio broadcasts. They can be shown live or hosted in the VLE. Fair dealing does not apply. You could show an entire film or programme.