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Copying for your Research or Study


The University is party to a number of statutory licenses and agreements which facilitate the use of copyright material by members of the University. Details of such licenses and agreements are contained in the Copyright Guide.

The fair dealing provisions of the Copyright Act allow you to copy material for your own research or study.

Fair dealing means that an individual can make a single copy for:

  • their own research or study
  • the purpose of criticism or review, provided sufficient acknowledgment is made of the work
  • the purpose of reporting news
  • the purpose of judicial proceedings or professional advice by a legal practitioner or patent attorney

In many cases material accessible from the Library's Web site will be covered by licence arrangements with the vendor or producer of the database. This includes databases and fulltext journals. Use of many of these subscribed electronic resources is governed by license agreements, which restrict access to the University of Canberra's staff and students.

In addition, it is the responsibility of each authorised user to ensure that these products are used only for non-commercial academic research or teaching/learning purposes. There should be no systematic downloading, distribution or retention of substantial portions of information.

For more information on copyright, refer to:

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How much can I copy?

There are different rules for different formats of material. You can copy a reasonable portion, which is defined as:

Hard copy or print materials

Separately published literary, dramatic or musical work (other than a computer program) of more than 10 pages10% of the total number of pages in the edition OR if the work is divided into chapters, a single chapter, even though this may exceed 10% of the number of pages
Articles in periodicalsOne article from an issue - more if they are on the same topic. Interpret the 'same topic' in the narrowest sense.
Illustrations accompanying textIllustrations accompanying text can be copied along with the text they illustrate provided the total amount copied is within the reasonable portions guidelines.
Audio-visual (AV) items including films, sound recordings, sound broadcasts and television broadcastsSections 103A and 103C of the Copyright Act permit the copying of a reasonable portion of an AV item for research or study or for criticism or review.A reasonable portion is not defined and you must consider a number of factors before deciding if the amount you wish to copy is fair dealing.

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For electronic works

Separately published literary or dramatic work (other than a computer program or electronic compilations such as a database)10% of the number of words in the work OR if the work is divided into chapters, a single chapter
Articles in electronic journalsOne article from an issue - more if they are on the same topic. Interpret the 'same topic' in the narrowest sense.
Web sites10% of the number of words in the electronic document

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Can I copy from the Internet?

Yes, but remember that material on the Internet is also protected by copyright.

Under the fair dealing principles you can copy up to 10% of the words in an electronic document for your own research or study. In some cases, it will not be easy to determine the number of words in an electronic document. For example, is it 10% of one web page or 10% of the entire web site?

It is possible that the author may have included a statement authorising the user to copy more than 10% of the document. Always check to see if there is a statement relating to copyright and reproduction before copying material from the Internet, either by downloading or printing. When in doubt, obtain the copyright owner's permission.

Further Information