Staff of the University, particularly those involved in teaching, are likely to need to share some extracts from copyrighted works with students enrolled on a taught course of study. It is important that staff understand how to do this safely and the implications of any potential infringement, either accidental or deliberate.
Sharing digitised readings with students is a simple way to ensure that everyone has access to the material they need to learn but it is vital that this is done within copyright restrictions. This page contains advice on how this sharing can be done safely and any procedures which need to be followed by those compiling readings and course packs to ensure that they remain copyright compliant.
Links to e-journal articles and e-books that are owned or subscribed to by the University can easily be shared with students using the permalink found on iDiscover. There's no limit to the number of links you can share and no need to record or report this. If you can't find the article or e-book you need, contact your Faculty or Department library team in the first instance.
The University holds a Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA) Higher Education Licence, which permits, subject to terms and conditions, the copying of extracts of text and still images from most printed books, journals and magazines published in the UK, many published overseas and many digital publications. The Licence is specifically intended to provide course readings for students enrolled on taught courses of study at the University of Cambridge and is not a general licence to copy.
Copies made under the CLA HE Licence terms may be distributed to enrolled students on a course of study:
If you would like to make a digital copy available to students please contact your Faculty or Department library, or designated CLA Reporter, in the first instance. Should you not know who your Faculty’s or Department’s Designated Reporter is, please contact the University’s CLA Licensing Co-ordinator .
If you carry out the copying yourself, you must be sure that you are familiar with the Licence requirements, including:
Be aware that the CLA HE Licence isn’t intended to substitute for the purchase of original material.
You will need to seek permission from the copyright holder if you wish to make a copy available to students which isn't covered by the following:
Please contact your Faculty or Department library in the first instance, who can advise on how to contact the copyright holder. It is important to plan ahead as obtaining permission can take time. If no response is received to a permission request this does not mean that the material can be used.
If you are in any doubt at all about what you are permitted to use, or would like further information, please contact the Copyright Helpdesk.
Before creating a copy to share with students for a course of study, take a look at the checklist below to make sure you have gone through the appropriate steps:
Unless you are the sole owner and copyright holder of the material, generally, you are not permitted to post copyright-protected course materials or readings openly on the Internet without permission from those who do hold the rights. Posting materials online constitutes republishing or distributing the materials which breaches copyright.
Works released under open licences such as Creative Commons (CC) Licences may be shared openly on the Internet provided you attribute the copyright owner and adhere to the prescribed terms of the licence.
Creative Commons licences provide a way for copyright holders to licence the use of the material they create. It uses a simple formula to construct a licence which allows for easy sharing and reuse whilst at the same time offering protection for the copyright holder. More information about Creative Commons licences can be found on the Copyright for Researchers guide.