Copying a reasonable portion

Under the fair dealing provisions for study or research you may copy a reasonable portion of literary, dramatic and printed musical works for the purpose of study or research.

A reasonable portion includes up to 10% of the total number of pages in a book containing 10 or more pages, or one chapter of a book - whichever is greater. In the case of electronic publications, documents on websites for example, the 10% limit applies to the total number of words in the work. If the website states that you may print or save the whole work, then the 10% limit does not apply. In this case, you are copying with permission of the copyright owner, and not relying on the fair dealing provisions of the Act.

Copying a whole textbook would not be considered fair, even if you need it for your course but you think it is too expensive. If you are a low income student and face serious financial difficulty in meeting your education costs, you will find helpful information on Financial help and support.

For periodical publications, the limit is one article from any one issue, or more if the articles are needed for the same research or course of study. Periodical publications can be in hard copy or electronic form, and may include journals, newspapers, and magazines.

Usage of the databases, electronic journals and other online publications to which the Library subscribes are governed by the terms of the licence agreement between the University and the vendor. In this situation, you are copying under the terms agreed with the vendor and copyright owner. As a general rule, staff and students may download or print out a reasonable portion of material that they need for their own research or study. However, systematic downloading is not permitted. Please refer to the Library's terms of use for further details.

The reasonable portion rule does not apply to artistic works, sound recordings, films and videos, or broadcasts. Instead, you need to consider the five fairness factors if you want to copy any portion of these. Refer to Copying audiovisual items for more information.

There are very limited circumstances under which you may be able to copy more than 10% or one chapter of a literary, dramatic or musical work. For such a dealing to be fair, it must satisfy the requirements of the five fairness factors listed in the Copyright Act. These are discussed in Copying audiovisual items.