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Copyright: Electronic copies

A guide to copyright legislation regarding use of library items.

Copyright regarding adding material to VLEs

Adding Material to VLEs


Even though text and images published on websites or the internet have been placed in the public domain they are is still protected by copyright as a literary works.   The fair dealing provisions of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act (as amended) and the CLA comprehensive HE licence do not cover copying material that is born digital and adding it to a VLE such as eBridge.

Therefore, to ensure that any copies made under these circumstances do not infringe copyright it is necessary for either the permission of the copyright holder to be obtained or that guidelines for substantial and insubstantial use are followed.

McCracken and Gilbart (Buying and Clearing Rights: Print, Broadcast and Multimedia, Blueprint, London, 1995), provide details of guidelines provided by the Publishers Association on the maximum amounts of text which may be taken before permission should be sort.  These recommendations include:

  •   Approximately 400 words of continuous prose may be taken.
  •    Approximately 800 words of none continuous prose may be taken (as long as no section of continuous prose within this is more than 300 words long).
  •    For shorter items, for example newspaper or journal articles, no more than 400 words or 10% of the total word count may be taken (whichever is the smaller).

Staff undertaking copying in these circumstances are strongly advised to keep paper records of contacts and the decisions they make when adding material to VLEs.  Should issues arise in the future it may be necessary for staff to prove “due diligence” was applied in tracing copyright holders.

For further information regarding this please see John Casey’s report for JISC Legal Information, “Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) in Networked E-Learning: A beginners Guide for Content Developers”. http://www.jisclegal.ac.uk/publications/johncasey_1.htm

Copyright for Electronic Resources

Within this context, the term electronic resources is used to describe a dataset of information provided by a commercial or non-commercial company for the Higher Education market. Details of the electronic resources (for example, e-journals, databases, reference works and e-books), available to staff and students at the University of Hull can be found on the library webpages.

The Library purchases licensed access to electronic resources, normally for a specified time period.  Before access is granted by the resource provider a licence is agreed and signed by the University Librarian.

Queries regarding individual databases should be sent to libhelp@hull.ac.uk.

Staff and students are also guided to the University of Hull's Computing Regulations and Guidelines for further information and the Library regulations .


It is permitted by the majority of publishers licences’ for staff to provide students with URL links to electronic journal articles within a VLE or secure network.  It is not permitted for the entire text of a journal article to be copied and pasted into a VLE or personal website.

For further information regarding the copying of e-journal articles please contact periodicals@hull.ac.uk.

Digitisation of library resources

The University holds a digitisation agreement with the Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA) which allows the scanning of copyrighted works within tightly controlled restraints. 

Under the digitisation agreement only designated members of the University are permitted to scan works.  For further details please contact digitisation@hull.ac.uk

Further details about the digitisation service. 

CC License