Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Copyright: Copyright for Staff

Copyright protects the moral and economic rights of writers, publishers and other creators and applies to physical materials and to the electronic environment.

Copyright is infringed by copying without permission. All staff and students of the University have obligations to observe copyright law and the terms of associated licences. Information about copying guidelines can be found next to all Library photocopiers and scanners and on the following university copyright pages.

Ask DULib

Contact us through our enhanced virtual enquiry desk, Ask DULib. Search our FAQs, email us, or chat with a librarian. 
Ask DULib is available to all students, staff and users.

Ask DULib, Library Help

Quick Links

Copyright advice for academic staff

The Copyright Licensing Agency Higher Education Licence enables the use of extracts of copyright protected printed books and journals to support teaching. It does not apply to any materials other than printed books and journals. It applies both to photocopying and scanning (digitisation).

Institutions are required to limit scanning to nominated individuals, to record every item scanned, and to ensure that a digital version is not already available commercially. The Library has established a digitisation service to ensure that the terms of the licence are adhered to.


Accessing Durham University Copyrighted Materials

Durham University holds extensive collections of international repute within its many libraries.  Authors and researchers wishing to include material held within these collections within their own work must secure the necessary copyright permissions from university authorities. 

Users wishing to make use of Durham University copyrighted materials must, in the first instance, contact the University's Copyright Officer, Colin Theakston. He will endeavour to either answer the query himself or pass it on to relevant expert staff.

Researchers and writers wishing to make use of the vast collections held at our Palace Green Library are encouraged to visit our Archives and Special Collections guide to browse their holdings and secure the necessary copyright permissions from the options available there.


Without express permission from the copyright holder, any of the following may infringe copyright:

  • copying more than the fair dealing limits
  • copying from many non-UK publications
  • copying for students from an item acquired from another library for private study
  • except in specific exceptional circumstances, distributing copies made from a personally-owned book or journal
  • copying sound recordings, films or videos
  • making scanned copies from print originals available in duo without following licence terms
  • making multiple print or scanned copies available to anyone other than students on your course
  • uploading material from electronic information resources into duo unless you know this is explicitly permitted by the supplier
  • systematic printing or downloading of e-journals or from bibliographic databases


Without express permission from the copyright holder, any of the following may infringe copyright:

  • copying more than the fair dealing limits
  • copying from many non-UK publications
  • copying for students from an item acquired from another library for private study
  • except in specific exceptional circumstances, distributing copies made from a personally-owned book or journal
  • copying sound recordings, films or videos
  • making scanned copies from print originals available in duo without following licence terms
  • making multiple print or scanned copies available to anyone other than students on your course
  • uploading material from electronic information resources into duo unless you know this is explicitly permitted by the supplier
  • systematic printing or downloading of e-journals or from bibliographic databases


Using copyright items in teaching and examinations

Changes to copyright regulations now allow lecturers to deliver teaching using multimedia methods:

  • The main exception that allows such copying comes under the heading of “illustration for instruction”.
  • This applies to copying by a person giving or receiving instruction, or preparing for giving or receiving instruction, and includes setting/communicating and answering examination questions.
  • The instruction must be for a non-commercial purpose and the work used must be sufficiently acknowledged.
  • The term “illustration” is not actually defined but it is likely that a copy can be used to reinforce a teaching point but cannot be used to just to make a presentation look more appealing.
  • The normal fair dealing rules still apply here (ie you can only copy a small portion) but the good news is that it now covers all types of copyright works including sound recordings, films and broadcasts.
  • Copying is no longer restricted to being done by hand thus enabling staff/students to copy using digital technology such as interactive whiteboards.


Key Points

  • You can copy a small part of a work to illustrate a teaching point (e.g. a few lines of text, short clip from a film)
  • The use of the work must only be for non-commercial purposes
  • The use must comply with fair dealing principles
  • There must be sufficient acknowledgement of the content used
  • More extensive use of copyright materials still comes under the terms and restrictions of the educational licences held by the University.

Copyright and Lecture Capture

Copyright is of particular relevance where lectures are being recorded. A variety of works are protected under copyright law - text, film, sound recordings, photographs and diagrams. Extracts from such works can be used in recorded lectures under a variety of educational exceptions and licences, but it is the responsibility of each staff member, or visiting lecturer, not to infringe the intellectual property rights of third parties. Also please remember that a recording itself is also a copyright work in its own right.

Although it is technically straightforward to insert third party materials into lectures and seminars, meaning for example putting an image into a PowerPoint slide or using video clips from commercially available DVDs, it may not be legal or acceptable to use these materials however unless:

  • The copyright period in the material has expired.
  • You own the copyright of the material.
  • Durham University owns the copyright of the material.
  • You have specific copyright clearance to use the materials in this way.

It is important therefore to remember that:

  • Lecturing staff are responsible for making sure that their recorded lectures do not infringe copyright.
  • That both lecturing staff and the University are at risk from being sued and/or prosecuted for infringing copyright.
  • Simply placing copyrighted materials within a password protected environment does NOT make it legal – it can still be construed as unauthorised copying.
  • When using material from your own research, including tables and images, even though it is your own work, you may have already signed away the copyright to this if you have had the research published by a journal. Any publishing agreement must therefore be checked to see how the work can be re-used later.
  • Although it is very easy to download images from the Internet and insert them into presentations, these images will almost certainly be subject to some sort of copyright, and unless you own the copyright yourself, it is not legal or acceptable just to download them.
  • Commercially purchased DVDs should not be uploaded unless you have the permission of the copyright holder.
  • The copyright in videos from such sources as YouTube or other similar produces resides with the creator of the video, so again permission will need to be obtained directly from them as YouTube cannot/will not grant this on their behalf.
  • Commercially bought audio cd's can be used in class, but should not be included in a lecture recording, so these sections will need to be edited out from the recorded lecture prior to it going live.
  • Podcasts downloaded from the web normally have an implied licence that enables users to copy and use them, as downloading them is a means of copying, so generally speaking you should be ok to use them, unless they have an accompanying statement that precludes their use. As with all these cases, if in doubt – please check!

There are ways though by which you can legally use images in your recorded lectures; for example

  • by using images where the copyright has expired.
  • By using images from an Open Educational Resources site that allow the use of images in this way.
  • Or perhaps consider creating your own!


Copyright originating with the lecture and its recording

The lecture content and its recording attract copyright which will, by default, be owned by the University, as indicated in the University’s Intellectual Property Rights Policy. In the case of a guest lecture, an assignment in writing from the lecturer should be sought for the content and the performance.


Copyright sites of interest

Copyright considerations for university employees

1) Copyright in any work created by an employee in the course of employment belongs to the employer. In keeping with normal academic custom, however, the University generally waives its claim to copyright in research publications.[1]

2) In these circumstances, individuals may publish these works to their own benefit. The University will automatically receive an implied worldwide royalty-free licence in perpetuity entitling it to use all such materials for internal educational and research purposes whilst recognising the author’s moral rights.

3) It is the responsibility of the individual academic to make any publisher, or any other party interested in the publication of such material, aware of this licence.

4) Where an individual academic requires a waiver of the licence to the University in clause 2 for the purpose of publication, a waiver may be granted upon application, by the PVC Research.

5) This discretionary waiver of claim copyright does not extend to works specifically commissioned by the University, to teaching materials [2] or to other copyright protected works with commercial potential. For additional information please see the University Intellectual Property Policy for further information.

6) For further clarification, contact legal.services@durham.ac.uk

_____________________________________________________________________

[1] Research publication includes textbooks, academic journal articles, conference papers and related presentations, theses and dissertations, popular non-fiction, novels and poems, but excludes any such materials or part of them which can be defined as Teaching Materials.

[2] Teaching Materials are defined as any materials, whether in written, recorded or other electronic form including web-based material, computer programs, computer based learning material and databases, produced by one or more members of staff in the course of their duties for use in or connection with a degree programme module or other course offered by the University. Textbooks, or other materials produced for publication that are not related to a particular course offered at Durham University, are excluded from the definition of Teaching Materials except where a member of staff has been specifically asked to write the material for a specific course. Personal lecture notes and other materials that are not routinely made available to students are also excluded from the definition of Teaching Materials.