Copyright made easy - an online tool


This is a really useful tool from the JISC Casper initiative which is concerned with the subject of Copyright.



Copyright and Related Rights Act, 2000

Copyright covers any expression of ideas or facts, created and translated to permanent form. This includes original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works - and includes electronic creations such as computer programs, databases and websites. The copyright holder, usually the creator of the work (but not necessarily - in many cases an author will have 'assigned' her/his rights to a publisher, for example) - has exclusive economic and moral rights which the Copyright and Related Rights Act 2000 protects. An infringement of these rights is punishable by law.

A copy of the Act is available from the Web site of the Office of the Attorney General.

Duration of copyright varies

  • Original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works
    70 years from the death of the author.
  • Films
    Lifetime of the longest living amongst principal director, author of the screenplay, author of the dialogue, author of the music plus 70 years
  • Databases
    15 years from the year in which the making of the database was completed or 15 years from the date on which the database was first lawfully re-utilised

Copyright infringement includes

  • Making and/or using illegal copies of a work
  • Using originals in unauthorised ways. For example: unlicensed access to electronic databases

So what can I do?

You can copy a work if:
  • copyright has expired
  • or you own the copyright
  • or the copyright holder has given permission for the work to be copied
  • or use of the work is governed by a licence granted by the copyright holder or their agent
  • or your copy, or copies, is/are permitted by an exemption in the Act

Are there any exemptions?

There are a number of exemptions under the Act. The relevant exemptions in this context are the educational exemptions (sections 53-58 of the Act).
  • Giving or preparing for instruction where the use is by or on behalf of the person giving or receiving the instruction and with sufficient acknowledgement. There is no quantitative limit - but the copying may not be reprographic (i.e. photocopied or scanned).
  • Examinations
    In setting and communicating questions to candidates, anything is allowed with the exception of reprographic copying of musical works
  • Reprographic copying (photocopying or scanning)
    Copying must be for educational purposes, with acknowledgement and must be of no more than 5% of a work in any calendar year - where the 5% is an institutional limit (so this limit does not just apply to the person doing the copying). A book constitutes a 'work'. An issue of a journal constitutes a 'work' (this is a working definition at present on which clarification is being sought).

The Irish Copyright Licensing Agency Licence

In addition to copying allowed under the Copyright and Related Rights Act or by individual provider licence, a licensing scheme has been agreed for Irish higher education institutions. The terms of this licence allow extended rights in certain areas as itemised below:
  • it is permitted to make multiple paper copies of licensed works for educational purposes. This includes distribution to student groups or classes, inclusion in course packs, and inclusion by libraries in reserve or short-loan collections
  • the number of copies is limited to the number of students in a class plus two for each teacher
  • the extent of such multiple copying is limited to 5% of a book or a chapter (the greater) or one article from any one periodical issue
  • Certain types of material (music, separately published maps) are excluded, as are certain publishers, and material published in certain countries. Details of exclusions can be found with the licence documentation which resides in the Corporate and Legal Affairs Office
  • The licence for 2005/2006 onwards also permits the scanning and uploading to closed intranets and Blackboard of printed material but please note that this is limited to Irish publications.

What about copying electronic resources for which the Institute pays?

The Library subscribes to a range of electronic information resources on behalf of the Institute. What can, and cannot, be done with these electronic resources is largely governed by licences.

In the vast majority of cases, a current IADT staff or student member can:
  • search and retrieve items
  • print and/or download individual items for personal use for teaching, learning and research

In the vast majority of cases, licences do not permit:
  • downloading of the substantial part of a database or the entire contents of a publication (this would include an entire journal issue)
  • multiple copying of items that have been printed out or downloaded
  • distributing copies
  • removing any proprietary marking or copyright statement from copy made
  • using electronic resources for commercial purposes

Please note: You cannot rely on educational exemptions under the Irish Copyright Act with respect to licensed resources, as the vast majority of our licences are not governed by Irish law.

Key points to remember

  • You can copy (photocopy or scan) up to 5% of a print work within a calendar year for educational purposes. The 5% is an institutional - not an individual limit. A book counts as one work. A journal issue counts as one work.
  • Do not make copies of electronic resources available as part of your online course - link to the original instead
  • Where you have made a copy legitimately, always acknowledge its source and the copyright holder

Where can I get help?


For advice on electronic resources available in your subject area(s), or If you encounter difficulties in accessing any of the Library's electronic resources,please contact Helen Wybrants@iadt.ie by email.


For copyright queries, please contact the Institute Librarian Deirdre.Judge@iadt.ie