Limits for copying for research and study

What are the limits for copying for research and study?

For books, journal articles and notated music the Copyright Act deems it 'fair' to copy a reasonable portion for the purposes of research or study. A reasonable portion is considered to be:

  • an article in a periodical publication (e.g. a journal or newspaper article);
  • more than one article from a periodical publication if it is for the same course of study or research;
  • 10% or one chapter if the work is a published edition of 10 pages or more; or 10% of the words if the work is in electronic form.

To copy more than this amount, or to copy from works other than those listed above (that is, artworks, audio-visual material or from the internet) you must consider whether the use would be considered fair. If the amount you have used or copied could be recognised by the creator as something unique in their original work (even if it is a couple of bars of music or a small detail of a painting), then generally this is considered a "substantial" part so you cannot use it.  You must also abide by the terms of use associated with online sources (for example, the website's terms of use). You should always acknowledge the source of the material through a reference.

For more information, see the Copyright at UWA web page.

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