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Copyright: information for students

Using photocopiers and scanners

When you are making copies at the University, you must comply with copyright law. The Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 contains an exemption called 'Fair Dealing' which allows individuals to make a single copy of a short extract from a copyrighted work, for the purposes of:

  • Non-commercial research and private study
  • Criticism or review
  • Illustration for instruction

Students with disabilities

An accessible copy of a work held in the library can be made by or for a person with a disability for their personal use. If an accessible version of the work is commercially available then this should be purchased rather than copied. If you have any queries about this, please contact your library Subject Support team.

Need to convert a file to a more accessible format?

SensusAccess is a self-service system that allows students and staff to convert files into many different formats, including digital Braille, MP3, Daisy and plain text. 

Conditions of use

You can make an accessible copy if you own the copyright (e.g. it's your own work), have permission from the copyright holder, if the copyright has expired, or if it's for someone with a print disability. If it’s for someone with a print disability you need to agree that:

For further advice, please contact the Library Copyright Adviser.

Exams and assessed work

The "illustration for instruction" exception of the Copyright Act permits copying for the purposes of setting or sitting an examination, but the 'fair dealing' concept applies, i.e. short extracts only may be copied, not a whole work. Assessed assignments, dissertations and theses are also covered by this exception but are also subject to 'fair dealing'.

Please remember that all materials used in academic work should be fully referenced.

Television and DVDs

The University has an Educational Recording Agency (ERA) Plus licence, which allows students and staff to use BoB to record any programme broadcast on 'free to view' television.

Electronic materials

Electronic information is also protected by copyright, including web pages, e-mails and computer programs. Although the "illustration for instruction" exception of the Copyright Act means you can copy short extracts from materials in order to sit an exam or write a piece of assessed work, it is important to bear the following points in mind:

  • Just because a web page may be available free of charge does not mean that it can be freely copied
  • Forwarding or publishing material either in print or electronic format is an infringement
  • Some web sites give express permission for copying. If a site does not, then some copying may be possible under a fair dealing exception (see above)
  • It is advisable to ask permission to include a link on your site. Some institutions may object to being associated with the material on your site
  • Do not use 'deep links' - i.e. always link into the home page of the site so as not to bypass copyright statements, credits or advertising materials, and to ensure that the author is identified
  • Be careful when using frames - you would be infringing someone else's copyright if the link into their page is surrounded by your logos, information
  • Do not carry out unauthorised downloading of software or music, e.g. by file sharing. This is illegal and penalties can be severe.

Library subscription-based databases, e-journals and e-books

The use of these electronic resources is subject to the terms and conditions of the licence agreements between Bournemouth University and service providers. For general details, refer to Licence information.

Plagiarism and referencing

Remember that you must acknowledge your source every time you refer to someone else's work. Failure to do so amounts to plagiarism, which is against the University rules and is a serious offence. Further information about plagiarism.

Your lecturers will expect you to set out your references using a standard format. The majority of courses at BU require you to use the Harvard method of referencing, however law students and psychology students use different systems. See our guide on How to cite references for further information.