Legal use of the information

Main Contents Page

Before you start




STEP 4: Legal and ethical USE

- Plagiarism

What is it?

What is a paper mill?


Detection tools

- Copyright

SA copyright law

What is it?

Get legitimate exemption?

Who is the owner?

How long does it last?


Why get permission?

How to get protection?

What is protected?

What is not protected?

Trademark / patent?

Copyright in the Library?

Internet and e-mail?

Text for class arrived late?

Contact for permission?

Practical tips

Own vs others work

- Quiz


Is there a legitimate exemption for teaching purposes?

The law permits the making of limited numbers of copies without copyright permission for the following purposes:

Research or personal or private use

For the purpose of research or private study, or for personal or private use Section 12 (1) of the Act allows the making of a single copy of a reasonable portion of a work, consistent with fair dealing. It is generally accepted that the copying of the whole or a major portion of the work in question is not reasonable and not compatible with fair dealing. The user may not make the copy available to others.

Copyright shall also not be infringed for the purposes of critical review or reporting of current events in a newspaper, film or broadcast.

Reproduction for Education

Section 12(4) of the Act allows a work to be used without permission for teaching purposes: "The copyright in a literary or musical work shall not be infringed by using such work, to the extent justified by the purpose by way of illustration in any publication, broadcast or sound or visual record for teaching: provided that such use shall be compatible with fair practice and that the source shall be mentioned as well as the name of the author if it appears on the work."

Multiple copies for classroom use

According to Regulation 2 the reproduction of a work in terms of section 13 of the Act shall be permitted if "the cumulative effect of the reproduction does not conflict with the normal exploitation of the work to the unreasonable prejudice of the legal interest and residuary rights of the author"

"Cumulative effect" is defined as:
"not more than one short poem, article, story or essay or two excerpts copied from the same author or more than three short poems, articles, stories or essays from the same collective work or periodical volume" and "no more than 9 instances of such multiple copying for one course of instruction to a particular class during any one term" may be made without copyright permission.

This can be interpreted as no more than 27 short poems, articles, stories or essays (but no more than 3 from the same periodical volume) taken from 9 different works, per term, per course.

However, the following shall be prohibited:

  • Copies may not be used to create or replace or substitute anthologies, compilations or collective works;
  • No copies may be made of or from works intended to be ephemeral, including workbooks, exercises, standardised tests and test booklets and answer sheets and similar ephemeral material (note: this does not include material issued by this Institution for teaching but would exclude the use of another Institution's material by our staff);
  • Copying may not:
    • be used as a substitute for the purchase of books, publishers' reprints, or periodicals; and
    • be repeated in respect of the same material by the same teacher from term to term.