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Self-service copyright regulations

Most published works are protected by the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or applicable international legislation. Under this Act copyright protection for most literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works lasts 70 years from the end of the year in which the author died.

Breaching copyright law is an offence. You are legally responsible for any copies made.

Unless the item you are copying is out of copyright, or you have the written permission of the copyright holder, it is advisable to stay within the following limits:

  • Up to 5% or one whole chapter (whichever is the greater) from a book, report, pamphlet, etc.
  • Up to 5% or one whole article (whichever is the greater) from a single issue of a journal, magazine or newspaper.
  • Up to 5% or one paper (whichever is the greater) from the proceedings of a conference.
  • Up to 5% of an anthology of short stories or poems or one short story or one poem of not more than 10 pages (whichever is the greater).
  • Up to 5% or one single case (whichever is the greater) from a published report of judicial proceedings.
  • 5% of the total item from sound recordings and films.

Please also note the following:

  • The copy can only be used either for:
    • Research or private study, neither of which may be for a commercial purpose
      or
    • Criticism, review and news reporting
  • Unless it is impractical, the source of all copies must be acknowledged
  • You should only make a single copy, and this should not be further copied.

If the copy is needed for a commercial purpose, or if you cannot comply with the criteria above, you must have the prior permission of the copyright owner or pay a copyright fee.

Copyright fees

The Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA) and Newspaper Licensing Agency (NLA) Licensing Schemes provide a simple way in which you can pay a copyright fee, for self-service copying, and then lawfully copy an extract from a book, magazine, journal or newspaper for commercial purposes.

For further information, please consult staff at the Copying Service Desk in the Library's Reading Rooms.

External links

CLA Sticker Scheme