Basic copying

Remember: copying does not mean just photocopying, but copying in any form including taking photographs of material on a mobile device.

 What can I copy?

 Fair Dealing

"Fair dealing" is the right allowed by copyright law to reproduce limited portions of copyrighted works.

Under our CLA Licence, and within Fair Dealing limits, for the purposes of private study or non-commercial research you may photocopy whichever is the greater, 10% or :

  • One article from any one issue of a journal

  • One chapter of a book

  • One poem or short story or one play of up to 10 pages from an anthology

  • One report of a single case in law reports

  • One scene from a play

Photocopying from a photocopy is not allowed (unless the original work is out of copyright, or it is from a copyright fee paid copy).



Copying printed music (incuding the words) is highly restricted. We are not covered under the CLA Licence to make copies. 

The Code of Fair Practice issued by the Music Publishers' Association states:

"If a musical work is in copyright (which it will be if any of the composers, editors or authors have not been dead for more than 70 years, or the work published in the last 25 years, whichever is the longer) then copying the work and/or arranging it are infringements of the copyright unless the person doing so enjoys a specific exception under the Act, or has the specific licence of the copyright owner to do so."

See Code of Fair Practice for detailed information


Fair Dealing for criticism and review

You may also copy short extracts to include in pieces of criticism and review. These are :

  • A short prose extract, not more than 400 words, or a total of 800 words for several extracts none of which exceed 300 words

  • A poetry extract of not more than 40 lines as long as this does not exceed a quarter of the poem

When using an extract think about and take into account :

  • the length and importance of the extract

  • the amount quoted in relation to your own work


For further information :

Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988

CLA excluded works

Copyright Acts and related laws


or email Theresa Oakley on