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Staffordshire University Copyright Guidance

A guide to best practices with copyright

Students and copyright

Free stock photo of desk, notebook, pen, workingDuring your studies you will want to copy or download third-party materials such as book chapters, journal articles and images. This material is likely to be covered by UK copyright law This limits the amount of material that you can copy. Fortunately, under the current law there are rules and exceptions that allow you to copy for the purposes of non-commercial research and private study within reasonable limits. 

•    Original literary works such as novels or poems, tables or lists and computer programmes
•    Original dramatic works such as dance or mime
•    Original musical works
•    Artistic works (paintings, drawings etc.), photographs and sculptures
•    Sound recordings
•    Film
•    Broadcasts
•    Typographical arrangements (ie. the layout or actual appearance) of published edition

Remember that any third-party material you include in your work must be acknowledged appropriately see the referencing guides for more information on how to correctly cite your sources.

The University holds a CLA license which allows you to copy

- No more than a chapter of a book OR

- One article from a journal OR

- One case report from a Law Report OR

- No more that 10% of a given work, whichever is greater.

It is important to note that the legal permissions that allow you to reference third-party material in your academic work do not extend to the work if you choose to publish it. In this case you must seek permission from the sources to use their work.


My Work & Copyright

​​Copyright does extend to any work you create at the university. However, the university reserves the right to use your work for administrative, educational and promotional purposes.

Free Resources

​​If you are concerned about copyright issue with an image, clip or audio you have found use the Further Information pages to locate some free resources you can use which are free to use with no copyright issues.


Don't get caught out by copyright on social media. Remember although you never lose the copy of content you upload by uploading it you are giving the host site a licence to use that work. Do not upload anything that is not yours ,such as professional photographs, unless the photographer has given you the correct permissions. 


​​Just because an image is freely searchable does not mean it is free to use. A rule of thumb is to assume that all images are under copyright and you will need to get permission to use them. Additionally you can check the further information to find free images to use in your work.

Blog​s & Vlogs

Content created for blogs and vlogs that is from a third-party should be used only with permission. This includes music, images and text content.


Plagiarism is when you portray the ideas, work or words of another person without proper acknowledgement. It also includes ‘self plagiarism’ which occurs where, for example, you submit work that you have presented for assessment on a previous occasion. When using extracts of a copyright work you must make sure you fully reference it correctly, otherwise you could be accused of plagiarism.


​For more information on referencing please us the RefZone that includes guides to how to credit your sources for a variety of different works. In addition you can also use RefWorks to help you create your references.