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Paper Course Packs and Classroom Handouts: A Quick Copyright Guide for SOAS Staff

This guidance is aimed at staff who want to distribute material to students in paper form, as course packs or handouts. Information distributed in this way will usually be subject to copyright, so it's important to ensure that no third party's copyright is infringed. These notes explain how to produce paper course packs and handouts without violating copyright. There are similar guidance notes for material posted on the Bloomsbury Learning Environment (BLE): see Creating electronic course packs/modules - copyright guide for SOAS staff and Bloomsbury Learning Environment: Copyright Guidance for SOAS Staff (detailed guidance).

Doesn't "fair dealing" allow us to produce course packs and handouts for students?

No. The well-known copyright defence of "fair dealing" for private study or research allows students and staff to copy limited amounts of material for their own personal, non-commercial research. However, it does not allow one person to produce many photocopies of an item for other people. Producing paper course packs and handouts involves multiple copying, and is not permitted under "fair dealing". There are posters next to the photocopiers in the SOAS Library which explain what students and staff can copy under "fair dealing"; see also Photocopying Library material, in the on-line copyright guidance for SOAS Library users.

Doesn't copyright law automatically allow photocopying for teaching purposes?

Generally speaking, no. There is a provision in the copyright legislation which allows a very small amount of a published work to be copied reprographically for the purpose of giving instruction, if no licencing scheme applies: see What can I copy under the statutory provisions for copying for teaching purposes? Otherwise, the fact that the photocopying is being done for teaching purposes is irrelevant, in terms of copyright law.

When can I include material in paper course packs and handouts?

You can include something in a paper course pack or handout without infringing copyright if at least one of the following situations applies:

When will I or SOAS own copyright? 

Copyright in anything produced by you in the course of your work at SOAS will belong to SOAS, and in some cases may be treated as belonging to you personally (by tradition, academics have been treated as owning copyright in their books, journal articles and other individual research). If you or SOAS owns copyright in a work, you can photocopy that work for paper course packs or handouts without infringing any third party's copyright. Copyright in SOAS publications will belong to SOAS unless otherwise indicated.

Remember that:

  • Copyright in your published research may belong to your publisher, depending on your contract with the publisher or the terms on which the journal in which you published your research in accepts articles. Don't assume that you own copyright in a published work just because you are the author; check your publication contract or contact your publisher if in doubt.
  • Whether you can copy a work that you produced in a previous employment will depend on your previous contract of service, and your former employer's copyright policies.
  • You may own copyright in a work which you produced in the course of working as a consultant, but this will depend on the contract with the client. The contract may assign copyright to the client; if it does not, you will own the copyright by default.
  • Co-authors also have copyright rights, and you may need their permission before copying a work which you jointly authored.
What can I copy for course packs and handouts under SOAS's photocopying licence with the Copyright Licensing Agency? 

SOAS has a photocopying licence with the Copyright Licensing Agency which allows students and staff to produce multiple photocopies of certain types of material. The CLA photocopying licence is the most common way of legally copying book chapters and journal articles for inclusion in paper course packs and handouts.

A work can be photocopied under the licence and copies included in course packs and handouts if all of the following conditions are met:

  • The work is a book, journal or magazine which SOAS owns in hard copy format. Usually, this means that a copy should be in the SOAS Library, or we own a "copyright fee paid" copy purchased from a document supply service like the British Library; and
  • The book, journal or magazine was published in the UK, the USA or one of the following “mandating territories”: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada (including Quebec), Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Iceland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Luxembourg, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Republic of Ireland, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland; and
  • The work is not on the CLA's List of Excluded Categories and Works, or their list of Excluded US Publishers. These lists cover publishers who have opted out of the licence; and
  • The amount which you want to copy from the work is within the limits permitted by the licence (see below).

If a work is covered by the CLA photocopying licence, extracts from the book, journal or magazine can be photocopied within the following limits:

  • Books: up to 5% or one chapter, whichever is greater.
  • Journals, magazines: up to 5% or one article (whichever is greater) from a single issue of a journal or magazine.
  • Reports of judicial proceedings: up to 5% or one report of one case (whichever is greater).
  • Conference proceedings: up to 5% or one paper (whichever is greater).
  • Poetry: up to 5% of an anthology of short stories or poems or one short story or one poem of not more than 10 pages.

There is no requirement to report details of photocopied items to the CLA.

The following may not be photocopied under the CLA licence:

  • Printed music.
  • Maps and charts.
  • Newspapers (however, some newspapers can be photocopied under our Newspaper Licensing Agency licence: see below).
  • Unpublished works.
  • Works on the CLA’s List of Excluded Categories and Works or list of Excluded US Publishers.
  • Works published outside the UK, USA or the “mandating territories”.
  • Publications which include a statement that they are excluded from licences granted by the Copyright Licensing Agency.

SOAS also has a scanning licence with the CLA which allows authorised staff to scan extracts from many UK and US-published books, journals and magazines, so that digitised copies can be delivered to students over the Bloomsbury Learning Environment. Separate guidance is available on what you can scan for delivery over the BLE: see Can I put it on the BLE? A Quick Copyright Guide for SOAS Staff and Bloomsbury Learning Environment: Copyright Guidance for SOAS Staff (detailed guidance).

What can I copy for paper course packs and handouts under SOAS’s Newspaper Licensing Agency licence? 

SOAS has a photocopying licence with the Newspaper Licensing Agency (NLA) which allows occasional photocopying from some UK-published newspapers for learning and teaching purposes. 

Under the NLA licence, you can produce up to 250 photocopies of an article from one of the following newspapers for inclusion in course packs or classroom handouts: Daily Express, Daily Mail, Daily Star, Daily Star Sunday, Daily Telegraph, Economist, Evening Standard, Financial Times, The Guardian, Independent, Independent on Sunday, International Herald Tribune, Mail on Sunday, Daily Mirror, News of the World, The Observer, The People, The Sun, Sunday Express, Sunday Mirror, Sunday Telegraph, Sunday Times, The Times, and the Times Higher Education Supplement.

Note that:

  • Illustrations and photographs accompanying articles must not be photocopied.
  • Each copy must include the notice: "NLA licenced copy. No further copies may be made except under licence."
  • Scanning of newspaper articles is not permitted.
  • Photocopying from newspapers other than those listed above is not permitted.

Many newspaper articles are available electronically on newspapers' web sites or via LexisNexis Butterworths, a database which the Library subscribes to, to which SOAS students and staff have access (see the Library's A-Z List of Databases). You may want to consider linking to an article on the web or on LexisNexis as an alternative to photocopying.

What can I copy under the statutory provisions for copying for teaching purposes? 

If you want to photocopy a small amount of material for a paper course pack or handout, and you cannot do so under the CLA or NLA licences (or in any other way), you may be able to do so under the provisions in the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act which allow limited copying by educational institutions for instructional purposes. 

You can photocopy an extract from an item under these provisions if all of the following conditions apply:

  • The work which you want to copy is not covered by any existing licensing scheme: i.e. it is not covered by our CLA or NLA licences.
  • The work is a published "literary" work (e.g. a book, journal, magazine or newspaper), "dramatic" work (e.g. the stage directions to a play, dance, mime or choreography), or "musical" work (this covers works written in some form of musical notation, but not sound recordings of music). Unpublished material cannot be copied under these provisions.
  • You copy no more than 1% of the work in any one quarter of the year (1 January to 31 March, 1 April to 30 June, 1 July to 30 September, and 1 October to 31 December).
  • You acknowledge the source of the copy, e.g. by giving the author and title.

Note that "artistic" works (e.g. photographs, drawings, illustrations) are not covered, but it is likely to be acceptable to photocopy an image or illustration which accompanies a book chapter or journal article if the illustration is intrinsic to an understanding of the text, and is photocopied along with the text.

These statutory provisions allow reprographic copying for instructional purposes. Reprographic copying includes photocopying and copying by electronic means, like scanning. However, the current interpretation of the law is that these provisions do not allow material to be distributed to students electronically; so you can scan an item to produce paper handouts or course packs, but not to send electronically to students by email or to put on your course's area on the Bloomsbury Learning Environment. Scanning material for distribution to the students via the BLE normally has to be done under the School's scanning licence with the CLA: see Bloomsbury Learning Environment: Copyright Guidance for SOAS Staff. 

When can I copy something because it is out of copyright? 

Works are only protected by copyright for a limited period of time. If the copyright in an item has expired, it can be freely copied for course packs and handouts or for any other purpose.

A "literary" work (e.g. a book, journal, magazine or newspaper) published in the UK will normally go out of copyright:

  • 70 years from the end of the year in which the last surviving author died; or
  • If the work is anonymous: 70 years from the end of the year in which it was first published, if it was published within 70 years of its creation.

E.g. a work published in 1940 whose author died in 1960 will go out of copyright on 1 January 2031; an anonymous work published in 1940 will go out of copyright on 1 January 2011.

There are some exceptions to the above provisions for published literary works:

  • If the work was first published before 1 August 1989 and the author died more than 20 years before publication, copyright expires 50 years from the end of the year in which the work was published.
  • If the work was published outside the UK, the duration of copyright is determined by the law in the country of origin. This means that the work may go out of copyright sooner than a UK published work: e.g. many countries only protect copyright for 50 years from the death of the author, versus 70 years in the UK and the rest of the European Economic Area. Determining the duration of copyright which applies to an ex-UK work can be difficult; if in doubt, treat the work as if it was published in the UK.

The duration of copyright is a complex area. For further guidance, including guidance relating to other types of works, see the Summary of the Duration of Copyright in Copyright Guidance for SOAS Library Users.

How can I get permission from the copyright owner? 

If you cannot photocopy an item under one of the conditions outlined above, you will need to get permission from the copyright owner in order to include the item in a paper course pack or handout.

Permission might be obtained:

  • By contacting the copyright owner directly. This can take some time, and you should not assume that the copyright owner has granted permission if they do not respond to you.
  • Through a licence, waiver or statement in the work itself, on the rights owner's website etc., in which the copyright owner states how the work can be used. Many rights owners will allow their works to be copied for non-commercial educational purposes.

For further guidance on obtaining permission, see Bloomsbury Learning Environment: Copyright Guidance for SOAS Staff.

Are there alternatives to paper course packs and handouts?

Yes: every course has an area on the Bloomsbury Learning Environment which teachers can use to set up discussion groups and links to external sources; post course materials like reading lists and lecture notes; and post digital versions of course readings. SOAS has a scanning licence with the Copyright Licensing Agency which allows extracts to be scanned from most UK-published books, journals and magazines for delivery to students over the BLE. Putting material on the BLE allows students to access it remotely from home or outside the UK, and to download and print out material selectively at times of their choosing. It supports a more dynamic and interactive method of teaching than paper course packs.

Separate guidance is available on the copyright aspects of putting material on the BLE: see Can I put it on the BLE? A Quick Copyright Guide for SOAS Staff and Bloomsbury Learning Environment: Copyright Guidance for SOAS Staff (detailed guidance). For help and advice on using the BLE in your teaching, contact the Academic Development Directorate. The Library can help with adding links to electronic resources (e.g. e-journals) from electronic versions of your reading lists: contact the Electronic Services team or your faculty or subject librarian.

Where can I get further advice and assistance?

For further information and advice on copyright generally including the CLA and NLA licences, contact the Information Compliance Manager at the following address:

Information Compliance Manager
Directorate
SOAS
Thornhaugh Street
Russell Square
London WC1H 0XG
United Kingdom

Telephone: +44 (0)20 7898 4150
Fax: +44 (0)20 7898 4019
Email: copyright@soas.ac.uk

Last updated November 2008