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Copyright: Copyright for Students

This guide provides information on copyright in relation to library collections and their use for teaching, learning and research.

Why do I need to know about copyright?

Copying and Downloading are part of College Life: During the course of your studies you will encounter the need to photocopy and download materials for your coursework and research, e.g. book chapters, journal articles, webpages, images etc.

It's the Law: This material is covered under Irish copyright law and it is your responsibility to keep within the law when copying and downloading material.

UCD Obligation: UCD has a responsibility to ensure compliance with the terms and conditions of the "Irish Copyright Licensing Agency Higher Education License" (ICLA)

What about assessed works and dissertations?

All assessed work must be referenced correctly, especially so that you avoid any accusations of plagiarism. See our guides and online tutorials on How to Cite and Reference and How to Avoid Plagiarism.  

All materials included must have full acknowledgment. Assessed work that includes copied materials can only be given to your assessor. Any future use will require permission by the rights holder.

In order to avoid breaching copyright when preparing your thesis, make sure that you reference correctly and always check copyright restrictions when using third-party materials.

Is it ok to download or print an item, which I found on the Internet for my own use?

Unless the item is clearly labelled as copyright free you should apply the ‘fair dealing’ terms to it. 

Music, films and sound recordings are not covered by ‘fair dealing’ and cannot be copied or downloaded without permission.

Can I download or print items that the Library provides, such as ebooks, journals or databases?

Ebooks, journals and databases provided by the Library are subject to licence agreements with each publisher. In most cases you can download and/or print within limits for your own research. See our section on Photocopying and Scanning for more information on this.

Can I download music, a film or sound recording from the Internet?

Music, films and sound recordings are not covered by ‘fair dealing’ and cannot be copied or downloaded without permission. Some sites allow legal sharing using a creative commons licence.

Is there anything that I can download or print?

Creative Commons is a non-profit organization that enables the sharing and use of creativity and knowledge through free legal tools. Items with this symbol are available under a creative commons licence. For more information see their website 

Is it ok to use material from the Internet that someone else has already copied? I have not made the illegal copy

Downloading, file-sharing, linking, or emailing illegally copied material is as illegal as making the original copy.


The information contained within these pages is intended as a general guideline, and an interpretation of current copyright issues. It is not intended and should not be construed as legal advice.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Ireland License