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SP Library

Copyright Guide: Permissible Copying

4. Permissible Copying (Hard Copies or Electronic Copies)

Copyright law does not make it impossible for you to copy but it does require you to be very cautious even when all you are doing is trying to make life a bit easier for your students.

4.1 Basically you would have to ensure that any copying is covered by one of the following defences or statutory licences afforded by the Copyright Act.

A. Multiple Copies of author’s works under Section 52 of the Copyright Act.

B. Multiple Copies of Insubstantial Portions under Section 51 of the Copyright Act.

C. Fair Dealing for the purpose of research or study.

 

A. Multiple Copies of author’s works under Section 52 of the Copyright Act.

This is the section you would probably have to rely on most frequently.

This section covers articles in periodical publications, as well as other authors’ works.

There are strict limits on the quantity that can be copied. For the exact limits please see Checklist #1.

Records of any copying under this section must be maintained for 4 years under the law. Please note, however, that it is SP’s policy that records must be maintained for 6 years. The longer record keeping period required by SP is to cover the legal limitation period within which a legal action can be brought. The custodian of the records under this section shall be the Library.

The copyright owner can request for payment for the copying if he so desires.

Lastly you should do the photocopying yourself or request a contractor to do it on behalf of SP. Students should not be asked to do the copying.

If you are copying under this section, please ensure that you are able to say “yes” to the relevant statements in Checklist #1.

 

B. Multiple Copies of Insubstantial Portions under Section 51 of the Copyright Act.

This section applies only to literary and dramatic works. Musical works are not included.

Under this section, the copyright owner does not have the right to seek payment at any point for the copying. The catch however is that the amount allowed to be copied is even less than that in section 52. For the amounts that can be copied, please see Checklist #2.

The law allows you to copy from the same source 14 days after the previous copying was carried out however there is no case law on whether the subsequent copying would be considered cumulatively to determine if the copying was substantial. Copying in instalments from the same source after intervals of fourteen days is not risk free because your copying may be taken cumulatively and classified as substantial thus depriving you of a defence under this section. You are therefore not to engage in such a practice.

Records are not required under the law but are required under SP Copying Practices to ensure that we have the relevant evidence to protect ourselves if sued wrongfully. The custodian of records under this section shall be the Library, which  shall maintain the records for 6 years. If you are copying under this section ensure that you are able to say "yes" to the relevant statements in Checklist #2.

 

C. Fair Dealing for the purpose of research or study / criticism or review

Under section 35 of the Copyright Act, you are allowed to copy a literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work, or an adaptation of a literary, dramatic or musical work, where such copying constitutes fair dealing for various purposes. One of these named purposes is research and study.  

Section 36 provides for a similar fair dealing defence for the purpose of criticism or review in relation to a literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work, or an adaptation of a literary, dramatic or musical work.

Where your act of copying falls to be covered by the fair dealing defence, no payment needs be made to the copyright owner and no records need be kept. The amount you copy, among various other factors, however, is relevant. For fair dealing for the purpose of criticism or review, you must make sufficient acknowledgement of the work.

If you keep within the limits specified under Section 52 of the Copyright Act (and provided you do not make multiple copies) your copying, will be deemed fair and there will be no infringement. See CheckList #1 for the limits. These limits may be exceeded, but so may the parameters of the defence. Where your copying exceeds these limits, it will become debatable as to whether the copying is fair.

The court would look at these factors to determine whether there is fair dealing under section 35:

- Whether the purpose of the copying is for non-profit educational purposes.

- The nature or type of work or adaptation copied.

- The amount and substantiality of the part copied in relation to the whole work or adaptation.

- The effect of the copying upon the potential market for, or value of, the work or adaptation.

- The possibility of obtaining the work or adaptation within a reasonable time at an ordinary commercial price.

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