Information Services

Copyright in Teaching

It is a common misconception that there is an “exception” to copyright for educational purposes. In fact “fair dealing” only covers non-commercial research or study, criticism or review, or for the reporting of current events, but this does not extend to making copies of texts for students to use in the classroom, for example.

Open Licensed Content

The University has an Open Educational Resources (OER) policy that encourages staff and students to use and share open licensed content including OERs, and Creative Commons licensed images and media. 

Open educational resources enhance the quality of the student experience, contribute to the provision of learning opportunities for all, and improve teaching practices. The use, creation, and publication of open educational resources is consistent with the University's reputation, values, and mission to "make a significant sustainable and socially responsible contribution to Scotland, the UK, and the world, promoting health and economic and cultural wellbeing".

The OER Service provides advice and guidance to staff and students on finding, creating, and using open licensed content, and understanding open licences.

Go to the OER Service webpages

Scanned Texts

The University of Edinburgh has a comprehensive CLA (Copyright Licensing Agency) Licence, which allows copies of many texts to be made by named, authorised individuals for the purposes of teaching certain courses. These copies must be reported, and so the library manages the use of this licence by providing its E-Reserve service.


The University holds an ERA Plus Licence, which enables licensed ERA Recordings to be accessed by students and staff online whether they are on the premises of the University, at home or working elsewhere within the UK. The ERA Licence covers scheduled free to air broadcasts on:

  • BBC television and radio
  • ITV Network services (including ITV2 and ITV3)
  • Channel Four and E4
  • Five television
  • S4C


It can be an infringement of copyright to include copyrighted images in teaching materials without permission. For example, if you wish to include images in slides, you could use images which have been licenced for re-use with Creative Commons, or use one of the University’s image collections. Please contact the Scholarly Communications Team for more details.

Further Resources

Edinburgh ERA Licence

E-reserve Service

OER Service

Scholarly Communications Team

Contact details



Information Services
Floor F East, Argyle House
3 Lady Lawson Street

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