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Copyright: Copyright for Students

What can I copy as a student?

The Copyright Act has some sections called the "fair dealing" sections. One of these sections relates to fair dealing for research and study. This section says that you may copy a "reasonable portion" of a literary, dramatic or musical work for your own research and study.

According to the Act a reasonable portion is:

  • 10% or one chapter of a book,
  • one article from any one issue of a periodical, or
  • one chapter or 10% of the number of words for resources in digital format.

Copying a whole textbook would not be considered fair, even if you need it for your course but you think it is too expensive.

For artistic work, video and sound recordings, there is no simple rule as to how much you can copy for research and study purposes.  There are a number of factors you have to consider.

Research and study includes assessment, so you may include fair portions of works in your assignments, projects and theses, provided that you attribute the sources properly.  The copyright situation gets more complicated if your project or thesis will be distributed beyond your assessors.  

What about the internet?

If you want to use material found on the web for your research and study, you may do so under the fair dealing provisions. You are restricted to using the material for that purpose only unless the website states otherwise.

Is it OK to download music and movies?

Music and movies available for download from websites or through peer to peer networks may be in the form of illegal copies, which infringe copyright.  If you come across a website offering downloads from many different bands and artists for nothing or a very small fee, then they are unlikely to be legitimate copies.

Using SAE's equipment to download, upload, share or store music or movies without the permission of the copyright owner is a breach of the rules, and may cause you to be involved in disciplinary action, and to have your account suspended.  You will also be vulnerable to prosecution.