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Copyright Law


This section provides guidance on what is permitted under the Copyright and Related Rights Regulations 2003.  The topics covered on this page are self-service copying, requesting copies for non-commercial research or private study from the NMBL & British Library, copyright and electronic resources and copying for the purpose of commercial research.  However, you should note that without a licence from the copyright owner the following activities are not permitted:

  • Copying for research for commercial purposes. Click here for details.
  • Copying from photocopies
  • Copying for distribution to anyone either within or outside the organisation
  • Making of multiple copies of any work
  • Copying or requesting more than one article from any single issue of a journal
  • Copying for archival purposes, particularly if it is accessible and able to be copied by others
  • Copying a complete work
  • Obtaining a work of which another member of the research team has already obtained a copy

If you have any queries regarding the NMBL’s copyright policy please contact Linda Noble, Head of Library

Self Service Copying: Fair Dealing

You  may make personal copies under “fair dealing”:

One article from one journal issue or 5% (or one chapter) of any other publication for non-commercial research or private study. It does not cover copying for any commercial purpose.  The other important limitation is that copies should not be made for substantially the same purpose at substantially the same time.

Notices are displayed next to the photocopiers in the NMBL but it is your responsibility to keep within copyright law.

Ordering Photocopies from the NMBL: Library Privilege and British Library Requests

 Copyright law permits library staff to copy one article from one journal issue subject to the receipt of a completed copyright declaration form, provided that the copy is required for non-commercial use or private study.  By law one form per article requested must be completed and this must be signed by the person requesting the article.  This also applies to requests for copies from the British Library.

Please note that if you require more than two or three photocopies from library stock, we would prefer it if you visited the library to do your own photocopying.

Electronic Works: Electronic Journals, Databases and Web Pages

Copyright law applies as much to electronic resources as it does to print and, as it is far easier to infringe copyright of an electronic source, rights holders are more rigorous in preventing and punishing infringements.  Whilst you should always check the terms and conditions on web sites, in general terms only one paper from one issue of an electronic journal or part (5%) of an electronic work should be printed/downloaded.  You should bear the following points in mind when using electronic resources:

  • When copying from web pages respect any copyright notices and copyright statements attached to works. 
  • Unless explicit permission is given on the web site only single copies may be downloaded and printed.
  • Copying for a commercial purpose is prohibited. 
  • Using material from a subscription database should be governed by contractual conditions (see library staff). 
  • All copies must be acknowledged, unless impracticable.

Commercial Copying

Commercial copying is defined as being to do with making money either for yourself or your employer.  The fact that your employer is not a commercial company is irrelevant, it is the purpose for which you need the copy that counts.  Click here for a detailed definition of commercial research.

If you consider that you need a copy for research for a commercial purpose, you will need to:

  • Purchase a Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA) sticker from the library to licence your copy. A sticker costs £9 including VAT per copy.
  • Ensure that if you are copying material for a commercial purpose at MBA, PML, SAHFOS, it is covered by an appropriate CLA licence.
  • For PML staff. If you send in a request for a photocopy from Library stock which will be used for commercial research, you should contact the library in order to purchase a sticker.
  • Some titles are not covered by the CLA’s licence. If you intend to copy papers from these titles for a commercial purpose, you will have to obtain permission from the publisher/copyright holder. Click here for details.
  • Copies obtained from the British Library will also require the appropriate copyright fee to be paid. This can range from 50 pence to £150.

The  COPYRIGHT FAQ contains further information on commercial copying.