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In using copyright works (eg journals, articles or books) for study or research, you are expected to observe certain legal and ethical constraints. In particular, you are bound to abide by the law of copyright.

Below are some copyright basics to get you started. Click on the links at the bottom of this page for copyright information relevant to students, teaching staff, researcher and NHS staff.

Parts of this guide have been repurposed, with permission, from the University of Nottingham’s copyright open educational resource and the University of Manchester’s copyright guidance under the terms of Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 licences.

Copyright basics

Copyright is a property right which protects original literary, musical and artistic works, and sound recordings, films and broadcasts. This guide outlines how copyright may affect your study, work or research here at St George’s. It will provide useful guidance on how you can legally use other people’s work and not breach copyright.

UK copyright law: fair dealing and library privilege

Fair dealing and library privilege are terms that cover copying from print journals, books and online material.

Fair dealing allows the user to copy limited material from a book or one article from a single issue of a journal, as long as it is for non-commercial private study or research.

Library privilege allows libraries to obtain a copy of a single article from an issue of a journal for you from other libraries, such as the British Library. You will need to sign a copyright declaration form to confirm that you have not requested the article before and will use the copy for non-commercial private study or research. Electronic signatures are permissible.

Please note that recent changes to copyright law mean that data-mining for data analysis, copying for the purposes of illustration, and quoting from articles for more than just criticism and review are now permissible.

Licences for higher education

Most universities, such as St George’s, have signed up to a Copyright Licensing Agency Licence. This licence provides annual blanket permissions to copy and reuse content from print and digital publications. These permissions are often wider than the provision of fair dealing and library privilege.

Copyright guides


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