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  Copying for Personal Study

May I photocopy an article from a journal to use for my assignment / research? 

Yes, under the Fair Dealing provisions you may make one copy of one article or up to 10​​​% of a journal issue. You may not make copies for any commercial gain for yourself or for a company. You should acknowledge any quotations or ideas you use from it. Some older material may be out of copyright – see our Copyright Facts and Glossary​​
 

May I photocopy a chapter of a book to use for my assignment / research?  

Yes, under the Fair Dealing provisions you may make one copy of up to 10% of a book, or one chapter, for private study or research. You may not make copies for any commercial gain for yourself or for a company. You should acknowledge any quotations or ideas you use from it. Some older material may be out of copyright – see Copyright facts & glossary. 
 

What is “fair dealing”?  

“Fair dealing” applies principally to literary, artistic, dramatic and musical works. It is a general permission to copy small amounts that do not harm the interests of copyright holders, for certain specific purposes only. There are no exact limits as to how much may be copied, but safe guidelines might be one copy of up to 10% or one chapter or a book, or one journal article. For short books it may be acceptable to copy up to 10%, provided the extract is not more than 20 pages. 
 
Acceptable purposes are:
  • copying for private study;
  • research for non-commercial purposes;
  • copying for criticism or review;
  • news reporting (but not photographs). 
Copies must be acknowledged as far as is practicable. Fair dealing does not apply to sound recordings or films. 
 

May I photocopy a poem or a short story for my assignment / research? 

These are complete in themselves, so should not be copied without permission.
However, in an anthology, a short story or poem of up to 10 pages may be copied under the Fair Dealing provisions.
Poems by authors who are out of copyright can be freely copied if the collection was published more than 25 years ago. 
 

May I photocopy a newspaper article for my assignment / research?  

Yes, you may make a copy of a single article from a newspaper for study purposes. 
 

May I photocopy or scan a photograph for study use?  

Yes, under the Fair Dealing provisions you may make one copy from artistic works for private study or research, including copies from the internet. Images in copyright should not be adapted or altered. There are no precise limits on the amount you may copy, but it should not “harm or prejudice the interests of rights holders”. 
 

May I photocopy or scan maps and charts for study use? 

Yes, under the Fair Dealing provisions you may make up to 4 copies of a single extract from an Ordnance Survey map, not larger than A4, and not enlarged. This also applies to OS digital mapping. Ordnance Survey maps older than 50 years may be freely copied. 
 
If this level of copying does not meet your needs, or if you wish to download maps, please use the Digimap service. 
 

May I photocopy or scan printed music for study use? 

 
No, not normally. Only one copy of very tiny amounts of printed music may be copied under the Fair Dealing provisions. The copying of whole movements or works is forbidden. Some older material may be out of copyright, see below.  
 
Copying music for use in performance exams is not normally permitted. 
 
The Music Publishers’ Association (MPA) publishes a helpful Code of Fair Practice which explains exactly what is permitted in more detail. Printed copies are available for consultation in Merchiston Library. 
 

 May I copy CDs, videos or DVDs for study use?   

No, copying of CDs, videos or DVDs is usually strictly forbidden by the publishers. Fair Dealing does not apply.  
 

May I download music or films to my data area?  

You should ensure that anything you download from the internet is legal, i.e. you have paid for it, or you have the permission of the copyright owner. 
 

May I copy computer programs? 

No, not normally, though it is OK to make a backup copy of a computer program that you own for the purposes of replacing it if it becomes corrupted.  
 

May I print out pages from the internet for study use? 

Yes, normally, unless the page says otherwise. It is advisable to stick to the same guidelines as you would with print.
  

May I copy material from the internet onto my own web pages? 

No, this is not recommended unless you have the permission of the original author. Small amounts of re-keyed text may be OK if you acknowledge the source. 
 

What is plagiarism? 

Plagiarism is copying someone else’s work or ideas and passing them off as your own without acknowledging the source.
There are many levels of plagiarism, some are worse than others. See the university's Be wise, don't plagiarise for more information.  
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