Fair dealing for research or private study purposes
Under the Copyright Act, a fair dealing with a work for the purposes of your research or private study does not infringe copyright. This means you may copy from any copyright material, including written works, art, photographs, maps, charts, diagrams or sheet music when engaged in research or study. However, this material is for your own use, not the research or study purposes of anyone else. You are limited to making only one copy on any occasion.
Fair dealing guidelines
There is no set amount that may by copied under fair dealing. It is a qualitative assessment in each case and there are a number of factors listed in the legislation which are taken into account determining what is fair. The factors are listed elsewhere in this knowledge base. As a general knowledge base, copying a small extract for your own research or study is permissible. In some cases, copying of a whole work, such as a poem, journal article or a photograph would also be fair. It would never be fair to copy the whole of a published work that is available for purchase. It would be less fair to copy a large or important part of a work than to copy a small or unimportant part. If your use has the potential to impact on the copyright owner’s ability to earn income for their work, for example by selling or licensing content, it is unlikely to be fair dealing.
When you are engaged in research or study, you are only permitted to make one copy of material at any one time under the fair dealing provision. The permitted use is also for your own research or study (no one elses). It follows that publishing the copied material or communicating it to the public in an online repository will take your use out of the scope of fair dealing for research or study.
Fair dealing for criticism or review
Fair dealing with a work for criticism or review allows use of copyright material when you are critiquing or reviewing material for example in an academic paper, book review or film. The important point to remember is that you always need to acknowledge the author and the title of the work that you are critiquing or reviewing. There is no restriction on the number of copies that can be made for critique or review purposes, so publication of your work incorporating the reviewed material is not prohibited. However, there is still a requirement that the dealing be fair and the factors taken into account in determining fairness in relation to research or private study apply here. As a general guide, ensure you do not copy any more in your critique or review than is necessary to get your point across.
Anything done for examination purposes
You (and teaching staff) are permitted to copy copyright material for the purpose of any examination. This includes any material you copy in assignments, theses and dissertations or other work that counts towards your final grade in your course of study. This permission would allow you to e-mail a copy of your assignment, thesis or dissertation to your examiner, but does not extend to you publishing or communicating it to the public (for example by placing it in an open access repository).
It is not an infringement of copyright if you incidentally copy any work in your artistic work, sound recording, film or communication work and publish, play, show or communicate your work to the public. For example, if you make a documentary film which includes a painting on a wall in the background, this is likely to be considered incidental copying. Incidental copying of a musical work or lyrics, will still infringe copyright if it is deliberately copied. For example, permission will be needed to include music on a film soundtrack, even if it is not an essential feature of the scene. Permission will not be required if part of a song on the radio is accidentally captured in a live broadcast.