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Understanding copyright and keeping your copying legal

All printing, scanning and copying must follow copyright law. This library page describes limits on copying for different types of printed materials and images.

About Copyright

All types of copying, scanning and printing are subject to copyright law.  It is your responsibility to make sure you do not copy more than you are legally allowed to.    

The Copyright Act does not allow making multiple copies of a single item. You are allowed to make a single copy for your personal study purposes.

The following limits also generally apply to anyone making a copy:

  • Books: the Copyright Act permits an individual to copy one chapter or up to 5% of a work. The Library Scanning Service for Academic Staff offers copying of up to 10% under the terms of the Copyright Licencing Agency licence. This provides compliant scans of course items for student groups via secure online learning environments (for example, Moodle).
  • Journal articles: you may only copy one article from any one issue of the journal.
  • Ordnance Survey Maps: you may make up to 4 copies in A4 size at the original map scale.
  • Further advice about copying images is available online.
  • Print disability:  if you are a University of Bath student or member of staff with a visual or cognitive disability, these copyright restrictions do not apply.  Copy and Print staff can make an accessible copy of up to an entire book, magazine or journal owned by the Library on your behalf. For more information on how the library can assist you please visit the services for users with disabilities webpage.

Further information for University staff

  • Further details about copyright: what is it, who owns it, and legal compliance (how to use other people's work).

  • The Library Scanning Service for Academic Staff: the Library is responsible for scanning and providing links to articles & chapters for you to make available for teaching.

  • Short Loan items: if you would like offprints (journal articles or sections of a book) that are in high demand to be placed in the Short Loan collection, please contact your subject librarian for guidelines on permissible copying & rapid copyright clearance.

  • Copyright Licencing Agency (CLA): non-profit-making company that licenses organisations for photocopying & scanning. The CLA also provides details of license permissions & restrictions. 


If you have any questions, please contact us.