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Copyright at UNSW

Using text works for teaching

Text works include books, journal articles, anthologies, sheet music, out of print, and website content.

UNSW has an agreement with the Copyright Agency that allows staff to copy and communicate a reasonable portion of text works for educational purposes under certain conditions, without the need to obtain permission from the copyright owner.

To meet our obligation under the agreement, all copying and communication of certain text works should be requested through Leganto.

Read further to find out more about the conditions and limits that apply.

Moral rights and attribution

Under the Copyright Act 1968, authors and artists have the right to be attributed or identified as the creator of their materials, to prevent others from being falsely attributed as the creator, and to ensure their materials are not subject to derogatory treatment. These rights are called moral rights and are separate to copyright protection.

To meet this obligation, attribute the work by providing enough information to identify the creator and the work e.g. author, title, publication year, source.


What can you do with printed books, journals and freely available online content?

Under the Copyright agreement the staff can use printed text works and freely available online content in the following ways:

Classroom handouts

  • print multiple copies of book chapters or articles to hand out to students, but limits must be observed (see below)
  • perform literary and dramatic works during a lecture

Electronic course readings

UNSW is legally and contractually obliged to ensure all copying and communication done under the Copyright Agency agreement is centrally managed and kept in a single repository.  To meet this obligation, all scanned extracts of books and journals articles should be made available through Leganto, the University’s copyright compliance tool and reading list management system and not uploaded directly in a learning management system (i.e. Moodle).  

By using Leganto, Library staff can check that all digitised materials are copyright compliant, contain the required warning notices and assist in sourcing digital content were possible. 


For more information on how to use Leganto, see How to provide course resources for your students

What are the limits and conditions?

When providing text works as course materials, the amount that can be copied and communicated depends on the type of material, whether it is from a print or digital source.  When copying and/or communicating copyright material, the limits apply on a course by course basis. 

Limits by text type

Printed books
  • 10% of the pages or 1 chapter (whichever is greater) 
  • The whole of a work if the work is out of print or not available commercially (generally 6 months for textbooks)
Printed journal articles
  • 1 article per issue, 2 or more articles from the same issue if they relate to the same specific topic.
  • Each work in an anthology is a separate copyright work.
  • If the work is 15 pages or less, we may copy the whole work.
Printed music (i.e. sheet music, printed music score)
  • 10% of the work
  • The whole of the work if it is out of print and not commercially available within a reasonable time
  • If an entire work is needed to be copied and communicated as an electronic course material, licensing the material separately is the best option.
Out of print books 
  • More than the 10% limit can be copied and communicated, including the whole book, if the University is satisfied that a copy cannot be obtained within a reasonable time and at an ordinary commercial price (generally 6 months for textbooks). 
Website content 
  • Wherever possible, provide a link (but only link to non-infringing sites); or
  • Check the Terms of Use for permitted and prohibited uses, and seek permission from the copyright owner of the website, as needed
    • Otherwise, 10% of the words on a website

Short quotes & extracts

  • Small amount can be used (i.e. 1-2 pages or 1% of words) can be copied and communicated without relying on the statutory licence.

The following conditions apply: 


What can you do with Library subscribed electronic resources?

UNSW Library subscribes to a large, diverse collection of electronic resources, such as databases, e-books and e-journals. Terms and conditions apply to electronic resources and are governed by commercial licence agreement.  

For subscribed e-resources, best practice is to create a link.  Some electronic resources licences do not allow for a pdf to be downloaded and placed on a learning management system (i.e. Moodle). When linking within Moodle, simply copy the Permalink provided. 

To find out how to create a link to subscribed resources in Leganto, see Leganto guide

Need help?

UNSW staff and students can contact for assistance with a copyright query or to arrange a copyright information session.

Quick guides


Download a quick guide to copyright and teaching at UNSW (576KB PDF).

Copyright Warning Notice

The Copyright Warning Notice that is used for Statutory Licence copying and communication is available for text and images (21KB PDF) and broadcasts (21KB PDF).