Please note the copyright notices on display in the photocopy room, on the online databases and e-journals webpages.

Copyright Directive

The copyright law limits the amount of material that may be copied from books, journals or databases.

What is Copyright?

Copyright is the expression of ideas or facts. It is protected in law by the Copyright and Related Rights Act 2000. This legislation exists to protect the rights of authors. The creator of a work owns the copyright on that work, however, he/she may transfer that right to others, e.g. a university or college, a publisher etc.

What is protected by copyright law?

  • Books, articles, software, online sources
  • Original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works, including computer programmes and software
  • Expression of ideas and principles
  • Sound recordings, films, broadcasts
  • Original databases
  • Typographical arrangements of published editions

How long does it last?

The duration of copyright varies according to the type of material:

  • Original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works are protected by copyright during the author’s lifetime and for 70 years after his/her death
  • The duration of copyright on films is 70 years plus the longest lifetime of any of its directors, actors etc.
  • Databases are under copyright for 15 years from the year in which the database was created or 15 years from the most recent amendment to the database.

What does the Copyright Act allow the individual student?

Students are allowed to copy works still in copyright “for a purpose and to an extent which will not unreasonably prejudice the interests of the owner of the copyright” stated in the Copyright Act 2000.

The amount that may be copied is specified as “a reasonable amount” e.g. one chapter from a book or in the case of journals “as many articles from a volume as there are issues in the volume” e.g. if a particular journal has 13 issues in a volume then 13 articles may be copied. These copies are for the student’s private use. He/she is not entitled to make multiple copies either for themselves or for distribution to others.

Copyright and Document Supply

Readers sign a copyright declaration when collecting non-returnable Document Supply material (e.g. journal articles, book chapters). By signing these declarations the reader confirms that they accept the terms under which the material has been supplied and that they are aware that they will be held responsible if found to have infringed copyright in any way.

Readers are permitted to request a full issue of a journal title on Document Supply, which will be issued to them on loan. It is library policy to point out to readers when borrowing such material that they are only permitted to make copies of one article from each issue.

Copyright infringement

Making or using illegal copies of work and using original work without authorisation would constitute an infringement of copyright law and as such is breaking the law. Offenses under the legislation are now deemed criminal as well as civil. A person found guilty of an offense could potentially face payment of damages to the copyright owner as well as imprisonment and or fines.

Disclaimer: These guidelines are intended as a general introduction to some relevant aspects of copyright and are not an authoritative interpretation of the law.