Permissions and Exemptions

Although copyright protection provides the owner exclusive rights to control the use of their work, that does not mean that others are completely prohibited from performing any copying. Copying small sections of the copyrighted works is permitted in certain circumstances and depending on the type of material.

Copyright law recognises that there are situations where copying work would not be unfair to the copyright owner yet at the same time, would benefit the user. Thus, the Copyright Patents and Designs Act 1988 and other legislation have made a provision for the copying of certain works and within specified guidelines. The sections below will illustrate the circumstances in which copyright work can be used or copied legally.


Fair dealing

Fair dealing is a concept that has never been formally defined. However it is generally accepted to mean that in some circumstances, copying an unsubstantial amount of copyright work would not harm the copyright owner but would be beneficial to the individual copying the work and society in general.

Fair dealing does not apply to all types of materials and may only apply for a particular type of material when used for a certain purpose.

There are three main purposes of which fair dealing may be used for: non-commercial research and private study, criticism or review and reporting current events.

To find out which formats and purposes are covered by fair dealing and how much can be copied, please follow the links below:


Educational Copying

Education copying applies to all types of educational establishments and permits some copying to take place, though subject to numerous restrictions: Education copying allows a piece of copyright work to be copied as long as:

  • The copying takes place during the course of instruction and is done by either the person giving or receiving the instruction and is not carried out using any reprographic process (i.e. photocopying, scanning) during instruction. The copyright work would typically be copied by hand on to a blackboard or an exercise book.
  • It is used for the purposes of setting, communicating or answering examination questions. This however, does not apply to sheet music.

To find out which formats and purposes are covered by educational copying and how much can be copied, please follow the links below:


Performing copyright work for educational purposes

Performing or showing copyright work (e.g. performing literary, dramatic and musical work, playing sound recordings, playing films and broadcasts, demonstrating software and databases) on University premises is permitted, as long as it is for educational purposes. The audience must also only consist of students; staff or others directly connected to the activities and would not generally include relatives or friends



Since there is no provision under the Act for reprographic copying and multiple copying in excess of fair dealing limits, this would clearly be problematic in educational and other environments.

Hence, the University has acquired licences from various licensing agencies which may assist students and staff in the normal educational environment. For more information on licences, please see our Licences page.


Copying for theses and dissertations

Copyright material can be included into theses and dissertations as long as your research is considered non-commercial and the amount copied does not exceed the fair dealing limit. It is imperative that you clearly acknowledge any copyright work included in your thesis.

If your work is considered as commercial research or the amount of work you require copying exceeds the fair dealing limit then you must first obtain permission from the copyright holders to include their material.

Theses are dissertations and so fall under the provision of fair dealing as they are non-published works. However if your thesis is subsequently published then fair dealing would no longer apply and you would have to seek permission from the copyright owners to include their works.


Copyright and Blackboard

Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) systems are widely used in educational institutions to support online teaching and learning. The University of Salford uses software known as Blackboard.

Blackboard offers many functionalities, the most important one in relation to copyright being the facility to upload teaching content onto the system, which can be accessed only by staff and student attending the course.

When uploading material to Blackboard it is vital that you do not breach copyright law. Below is a brief guide outlining the types of information you can upload.

Material created by the University of Salford

Copyright for material created by staff of the University is owned by the University of Salford itself, therefore this material can be uploaded freely onto Blackboard.

Literary works not published by the University

You may scan copyright material (under fair dealing limits) and upload onto Blackboard as long as the material is covered by the CLA Licence. However the licence stipulates that only 'designated persons' may carry out the scanning and a record must be made of every scanned piece of work. If you would like to scan any work under the CLA Licence, please contact the Information Governance Team.

For work that is excluded from the CLA Licence, you must obtain permission from the copyright holder to scan and upload the material.

E-books and E-journals cannot be copied or uploaded onto Blackboard, though you are permitted to provide a link to the source itself.

Material created by another organisation

You may not upload material created by another organisation onto Blackboard, unless you have special permission from that organisation.

Material recorded from television

Most material recorded from television can be uploaded onto Blackboard, but must only be available in University premises and not beyond. On the other hand, Open University material can be made available more freely and can be accessed by off-site users.

Under the licensing conditions, any material recorded from television must be logged, so if you wish to record any programmes from television, please contact the Information Governance Team.


Temporary copies of copyright work

There is no copyright infringement where a temporary copy is produced during the legitimate transmission or replication of a copyright work. For example, the web pages stored in a temporary folder on your computer and temporary copies produced during a fax transmission. Nevertheless it is advisable to destroy/delete temporary copies.


Incidental Inclusions

Copyright is not infringed if copyright work is unintentionally included in "passing shots" or background use. For example, a painting used in the background of a scene It must be stressed that inclusion must be strictly incidental; if inclusion looks like it may be deliberate then this exception would not apply.

Music however, is not permitted to be used incidentally without permission.


Exceptions for Visually Impaired Persons

The Copyright (Visually Impaired Persons) Act 2002 permits the "change of format" replication of copyright material for visually impaired persons subject to particular restrictions e.g. print to large print.

Visually impaired staff and students are permitted to copy the work into another format as long as the format is supported by a licence. The individual must also already have access to an original version of the work and the required format must not already be commercially available. The University's CLA licence has a number of provisions for visually impaired persons. For more details refer to the CLA web site.