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Copyright: Course Reading

“If you carry out copying yourself, you must be sure that you are familiar with the Licence requirements.”

CLA Higher Education Licence Quick Guide for Academic Staff (2019)

CLA HE Licence

The University of Hull holds the Copyright Licensing Agency's HE Licence,  which enables University staff to make digital or print copies for students from most published books and journals, subject to the following limits per module:

  • Taken from a book or journal which is part of the University's collections (print or online)*
  • Maximum 1 chapter or 10% of a book (whichever is greater) 
  • Maximum 1 article from any issue of a journal
  • 1 short story or poem from an anthology (max. 10 pages)
  • Only available to students taking the module concerned (ideally via Reading Lists at Hull), for the duration of the module.

*If the Library does not stock the publication, a copy can be made from a book or journal article legally sourced by the lecturer, until the Library is able to acquire the material for stock.

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The full User Guidelines for the CLA HE Licence explore the restrictions and exceptions in more detail.

Lecturers and tutors who intend to provide students with digital copies (scans) of printed texts for course reading must use the Library's Digitization Service, to ensure compliance with licence terms.  This is also the best way to ensure the copy created is an accessible one. Requests for digitization should be submitted via Reading Lists at Hull.

A small number of publishers have excluded some or all of their titles from the CLA Licence (they can be identified using the CLA's Check Permissions tool).  In these cases, UK copyright law enables teachers to justify making their own copies in some circumstances:

Copying and use of extracts of works by educational establishments (CDPA s 36):

  • No more than 5% of a work in a period of 12 months
  • Distributed on a secure network (such as an institutional VLE)
  • Takes precedence over any restrictive terms of use imposed by the publisher.

Illustration for Instruction (CDPA s 32):

  • No limit to the  amount copied, providing the use is 'fair dealing', i.e. no impact on the rights-holder's market
  • The copy can be made by a teacher or a student
  • Arguably,  "instruction" implies something more dynamic than self-study, such as using the material copied for the specific purpose of a classroom activity or assessment.

Accessible copies

 sitting in a wheelchair icon                          If a student has a disability or impairment which impacts on their use of course reading in its original format, then they are entitled to copy the entire work into an accessible format, or ask someone else to make an accessible copy for them.

Contact the Library's Digitization Service for help sourcing and creating accessible versions of course reading.

UK HE copyright specialists at have published a guide to the Exceptions for Disability in UK copyright law.

eBooks and journals

Almost all of the Library's eBooks and eJournals can be accessed off-campus, and an increasing number of authors take advantage of opportunities to publish their work on an open access platform Instead of making copies,  you can create an online reading list for students with direct links to the Library catalogue and subscribed or free resources:

If students report difficulties connecting to Library resources off-campus, please encourage them to ask for help.


See the Library's guide to Open Access Discovery for recommended directories of scholarly OA books and journals, plus tips and tools to help you quickly find OA versions of published works.