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Copyright: Teaching and learning

Copyright for teaching and learning

Copyright is an important consideration when searching for and re-using materials created by someone else. Any material for which you or Sheffield Hallam University are the copyright holder may be used freely; anything else is subject to copyright restrictions. Remember that copyright for articles which you have written does not necessarily belong to you, as terms of publishing contracts often mean that authors assign rights to publishers.

Consult Copyright Basics tab for more information about

  • 'When materials can be copied'
  • 'Who owns copyright and how long does it last?'
  • 'Exceptions under copyright law'

The exceptions 'Inclusion for instruction' and 'Quotation' are particularly valuable for enabling re-use of copyright works.

JISC Legal have produced a very helpful set of FAQs covering re-use of copyright materials in higher education.  This guide is a good place to start if you have a query.


The Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA) Higher Education Licence allows photocopies to be made from most books and journals for the purposes of teaching, learning and research by Sheffield Hallam University staff and students. The Licence includes distance learning students, non-credit bearing courses, and copying for commercial purposes in connection with research activities. Consult the CLA User Guidelines for more information about which publications are covered, and carry out a title search to check whether or not a publication is included. The photocopies can be collated into a course reader. The CLA Licence applies the same limit to photocopying and scanning (digitisation):

  • one article per journal issue or 10%, whichever is the greater
  • one chapter per book or 10%, whichever is the greater
  • one poem/short story from an anthology, not exceeding 10 pages

The Newspaper Licensing Agency (NLA) Licence allows photocopies to be made of articles in print newspapers for teaching purposes, and ad hoc copies for management information. Most major newspapers and supplements are included; the Times Educational Supplement and the Times Higher Educational Supplement are not part of the scheme nor are foreign newspapers.  All copies should be marked 'NLA licensed copy. No further copies may be made except under Licence.'

Newspaper articles may not be adapted, stored or distributed electronically. Electronic versions of newspapers are not covered by this Licence.


The CLA Licence allows a limited amount of scanning of chapters and articles subject to certain conditions. The amount, that is restricted to a specified course module, applies to photocopying and scanning (digitisation): 

  • one article per journal issue or 10%, whichever is the greater
  • one chapter per book or 10%, whichever is the greater
  • one poem/short story from an anthology, not exceeding 10 pages

The scanning is subject to rigorous checking, logging and reporting to the CLA.  Library Services undertakes this work and a centralised service is provided to ensure compliance with the Licence.

Items are scanned and made available via Reading Lists Online (RLO). If a book chapter or journal article is listed in RLO, we will try to make it available online from existing sources or through digitisation. You can link from your Blackboard site to the reading list on Reading Lists Online.  Further information about this process is available on the RLO guide for staff.

Alternatively, urgent requests can be made using the online digitisation request form below.


Copyright law allows a disabled person, or someone acting on their behalf, to make a single copy in an accessible version for their personal use.  This is subject to the item not being available commercially in a format that can be accessed and the disabled person having lawful access to the original work.  The law does not permit circumvention of any technological protection measures which may prevent the copying.

Library online resources

The library subscribes to online resources such as e-journals, e-books and databases, and provides access to these online resources to current Sheffield Hallam University staff and students.

Each of the online resources has a specific licence, and the licence terms will vary from publisher to publisher. Below are some general guidelines for what is permitted: 

What you can do What you can't do
Use online resources for non-commercial research, teaching or private study. 

Use online resources for any commercial purpose, including use during work placements or paid research. 

Modify the content (this includes removing, obscuring or altering any copyright information that appears on the downloaded copy). 

You can normally download, email or print one copy of a limited amount from e-journals and e-books.  Systemically download, save or print over the limited amount (for example, every article in a journal issue or a whole e-book) or make multiple copies. 
Share the link to an article or book chapter with other Sheffield Hallam University staff and students. 

Share any material with anyone who is not a current Sheffield Hallam University student or staff member.  

Republish or share downloaded copies online, this includes posting copies on Blackboard. 

Distribute downloaded copies, for example sending a downloaded copy as an email attachment. 



A certain amount of copying from websites may be permissible under the Exceptions in the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act.  If the Exceptions and Fair Dealing do not cover what you want to do, look for a copyright statement on the website detailing the terms and conditions under which it is permissable to copy and link to material on the site.  A statement may be found under one of the following headings: disclaimer, liability, copyright, terms and conditions. In the absence of such a statement giving permission, do not assume you can copy or link.

The practice of making hyperlinks to websites is widespread. Although the law in this area is very grey, legal experts advise the following best practice guidelines:

  • it is acceptable to link to the homepage of a website, but deep links require permission from the owner of the website, particularly if the home page includes advertisements
  • any link, either to the home page or as a deep link, must open within its own frame
  • links should be text links, using logos only if permission has been given

Further information


These pages are intended to provide guidance to members of Sheffield Hallam University on matters of copyright and the copying of materials for learning, teaching and research at the University.  Whilst we have endeavoured to ensure the accuracy of these guidelines, they should not be construed as definitive legal opinion on such matters and should not be taken as legal advice.

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