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The Internet

The term 'Digital Copying' is used to define any copying in an electronic format e.g. scanning from printed material to keep electronically, copying material from other websites, burning onto CD or just sending a fax.


Copyright law applies to electronic copying as it does to print, and was brought into UK Law with the implementation of the EU Copyright Directive on 31st October 2003 as 'The Copyright and Related Rights Regulations 2003'

Fair Dealing

Fair dealing under (CDPA 1988 S.29) does not apply to posting material on the internet or intranets as it is a form of publishing or communicating to the public, not for the purpose of an individual's non-commercial research or private study .

However, it may fall under (CDPA 1988 S.30) if the genuine purpose of copying is criticism, review or quotation of the work, as this provision actually requires the work to be communicated to the public with full acknowledgement.

Similarly emailing an item to another individual is also an infringement.

Librarians may:

Fax a copy to an individual provided the originating copy is subsequently destroyed in order that only the recipient's copy remains
email a copy to an individual provided the email is deleted once printed by the recipient.

Practical guidelines on fair dealing for an individual's non-commercial research or private study, have been published by JISC (Joint Information Systems Committee) and the PA (Publishers Association) and are available here.

Internet and Intranets

A common misconception is that everything on the 'World Wide Web' is free to use because it is freely accessible. Internet web sites contain various creative materials e.g. literary, artistic, film, photographs, music or even qualify as a database, and as such are protected by copyright.

Most websites carry a copyright statement or terms/conditions, indicating which uses are acceptable or require permission. Permission may be attached in the form of a 'Creative Commons Licence' which allows a copyright owner to permit certain uses of a work by attaching certain licensing symbols, without completely waiving his/her rights.

If no statement or licence is available, do not assume that copyright is not attached.

Permission must be sought before copying.

It is copyright infringement to post any material onto a website, regardless of the accessibility, without the permission of the copyright owner or under licence.

This also applies to student work as a student retains copyright ownership in all his/her work, unless a signed contract exists to the contrary.

All copied material must be attributed to the creator/author and publisher, the source, and if copied with permission or under a University held licence, details must be attached to this effect e.g. Name of organisation or licensing body, date permission granted and duration (usually duration of the course/module e.g. one semester or one year).

Hyper linking

Links must always open as a new page, as opposed to a frame within your web page. Simply linking from one website to another does not infringe copyright, providing the material is not then displayed in such a manner that would suggest the material is your own creation, otherwise known as 'passing off'.

Always check the 'Terms of Use' or 'Copyright' policy of the website before linking direct to an item within a website known as 'Deep Linking'. Many websites host advertisements for which the organisations receive revenue calculated by 'hits'. In these cases, the web site owners prefer all links to be made to the 'home page' or the page displaying these adverts rather than directly to the page of your choice. Increasingly, organisations are including permissions or restrictions for linking in their website 'Terms of Use' or 'Copyright policies'.

Where deep linking has been forbidden and permission is not sought, the web site owner could request a fee, or that the link be removed. This is commonly referred to as a 'take down' request.

Linking to E-Resources is the preferred method of making items available to students. E-resources are governed by individual licences which vary in permitted uses. Downloading e-journal articles directly onto an Intranet adversely affects the usage statistics of the resource.

Logos or Trademarks should never be used without permission even as a linking tool. Apart from infringing copyright and this can mislead a user into thinking that there is an affiliation with the organisation.

File Sharing

Never share your files with others unless you own all the copyright in the contents. If you have permission or are using material under a licence, re-publishing or communication to the public must be included in order for you to file share.

Even providing links to pirated or infringing material could lead to a legal action against you.
See the following story:

A computing Science student being extradited to US to face charges for linking to infringing material from his website.

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