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Copyright & course readings

All material made available through the Course Readings Service must comply with the provisions of copyright law and UCL's CLA (Copyright Licensing Agency) Licence.

The Licence allows the production of copies (in digital or print format) to support students on a specific course of study. It specifies the maximum proportion that may be included in relation to any course, either in PDF or paper format:

  • 5% or one chapter of a book
  • 5% or one article of a journal/periodical issue
  • 5% or one paper of one set of conference proceedings
  • 5% or one case of one report of judicial proceedings
  • 5% of an anthology of short stories or poems, or one short story or poem not exceeding 10 pages

The Licence imposes additional conditions:

  • Only material held by UCL Library may be made available without permission from the copyright holder (please note that a lecturer's personal copy is not sufficient)
  • UK Material that appears on the CLA Excluded Works Lists may not be made available without permission from the copyright holder
  • Only printed material published in the UK, USA or a few other countries may be scanned under the CLA licence. For a list of these countries, see the CLA List of International territories and look at the column 'Scanning Mandate Territories'. Also note the exclusion lists.
  • Material published in countries that do not participate in the scanning part of the CLA licence may be still made available in paper format: see the column 'Photocopying Mandate Territories' and note the exclusion lists.

Exceptions to these restrictions include "copyright waived" items (such as US government publications) and material in relation to which explicit permission to copy for educational purposes has been given (eg. statutory material published by HMSO).

Please note that, while copyright lapses automatically 70 years after an author's death, separate copyright also subsists in the typographical arrangement for 25 years. This means that copyright restrictions may still apply even where the work is by a long-deceased author.

Useful links:
If you are interested in copyright law or its application in higher education institutions, you may find the following sites useful:

The Copyright Licensing Agency:

Intellectual Property Office:

  • comprehensive definitions and examples of copyright, from this UK government website

Wikipedia Copyright entry:

  • history of the provisions and application of copyright law worldwide
  • UK Copyright Law under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 and other legislation

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Last modified 19 January 2011

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