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Copyright is the law that protects people’s work from being copied and used by other people without their permission. It is an automatic right that is given to: “written, theatrical, musical and artistic works as well as film, book layouts, sound recordings, and broadcasts” (Intellectual Property Office, 2012).

Before June 2014, you had to ask permission from the copyright holder to make use of their work in your assignments. But, the law has now changed to make using copyrighted material for educational purposes much easier. You now don’t need to ask the copyright holder’s permission if you are using their work for educational purposes and your usage falls under “fair dealing” on the condition that your work is correctly referenced.

Deciding if your usage falls under “fair dealing” can be done by answering the following questions:

  • Are you causing the copyright holder to lose any financial income?
  • Are you using more of their work than you need to or, could your usage be called inappropriate or unreasonable?

If the answer to either of these questions is yes, then your usage is not “fair dealing” and you need to either remove the copyrighted works from your material, use less of the work, or seek the copyright holder’s permission to use their work.

Copyright law also restricts what can and cannot be photocopied. You can’t photocopy materials like sheet music for example. However, the main points that you need to be aware of are:

  • You may photocopy/scan 5% or 1 chapter of a book (whichever is the larger)
  • You may photocopy/scan 1 short story/poem (not exceeding 10 pages)
  • You may photocopy/scan 1 journal article

Contact Anysia for more information.