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Copying work

Copying works for the purpose of research or private study

Under the Copyright Act, teachers and students may copy a work that is stored in a library or loaned out to them for their own research or private study.

When considering whether a particular instance of copying amounts to fair dealing for the purpose of research or private study, the following considerations must be taken into account:

  • the purpose of the copying
  • the nature of the work copied
  • whether the work could have been obtained within a reasonable time at an ordinary commercial price
  • the effect of the copying on the potential market for, or value of, the work
  • the amount and substantiality of the part of the work copied in relation to the whole work.

This exception does not permit the making of multiple copies of a work (that is, more than one copy of the same work or part of the work on the same occasion). Accordingly, teachers may not direct students to make their own copies under this provision. A single copy should not be posted on an intranet for general access, and students may not make multiple copies for their friends under this provision.

Printing (copying) works from an electronic database

Where the library provides student access to electronic databases, there will be specific rules in the contract for that access. Multiple copying is often prohibited under licences to access electronic databases.

The school should make students aware of these rules and monitor their compliance to minimise the risk of liability for copyright infringement and/or breach of contract.

Printing (copying) from the Internet

A student may be permitted to print or copy part of a whole work from a website for the purpose of their own research or private study under the Copyright Act.

It is not clear that a work may be copied from a website under the educational provisions relating to literary or artistic works discussed above.

Copying works for examination purposes

Under the Copyright Act, copyright works may be copied for examination purposes. However, it is unlikely that these works may then be stored in the library for subsequent reference and use by teachers and students under this exception.

For more information, see the Copyright in the classroom guide in the For teachers section.