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Copyright Guidelines for Staff & Students of the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg (WITS): Can You Copy For Educational/Research Purposes?

This LibGuide provides definitions, legislation and procedures for copyright clearance for teaching and research purposes.

Section 13 Exceptions for Reproduction for Educational and Research Purposes

Section 13 of the South African Copyright Act (Regulations) has specific but limited exceptions for educational purposes. The law permits the making of limited numbers of copies of works for personal use, study and research, and teaching, without having to apply for copyright permission , viz:

  • Personal copies for use by a student, a researcher and a teacher/lecturer : having regard to the totality and meaning of a work, one (1) copy of a "reasonable and necessary portion" of a work, consistent with fair practice, can be made without permission. (Regulation 2(a)).


  • Copies for students made by academic departments : one (1) copy of a "reasonable portion" per student, per course, per term, may be made by or for a lecturer for classroom use or discussion, without permission (Regulations 2 &7). Not more than "a reasonable portion" should be made, provided "the cumulative effect of the reproductions does not conflict with the normal exploitation of the work to the unreasonable prejudice of the legal interest and residuary rights of the author" (Regulation 2(b)). "Cumulative effect" is defined as follows (Regulation 1(iii)):-


- "not more than 1 short poem, article, story or essay or 2 excerpts copied from the same author or more than 3 short
poems, articles, stories or essays from the same collective work or periodical volume, for the purpose of instructing a
particular class during any one term; and,
- "not more than 9 instances of such multiple copying for one course of instruction to a particular class during any one

- "At the end of the term, therefore, students in a class may have received from their lecturer no more than:

copies of 9 poems, articles, stories or essays by 9 different authors
or copies of 18 excerpts from the works of 9 different authors (2 excerpts per author)
or copies of 27 poems, articles, stories or essays from 9 different collective works or periodical volumes with the
proviso that all of the 27 works must have been written by different authors"
(Ref.: DALRO s document entitled "Reprographic Reproduction of Copyright Material for Educational Purposes" - Pg. 5)


Section 12(4) of the Act allows a work to be used (and this includes copied) - without permission of the author for
teaching purposes. This section reads as follows:-

"The copyright in a literary or musical work shall not be infringed by using such work, to the extent justified by the
purposes, 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".

"The expression "for teaching" is wide enough it would seem, to cover instruction, not only in schools and universities,
but also elsewhere, for instance the in-house training of staff by business firms and others, and even teaching by
correspondence. However, it must be 'for teaching only' .
(Ref. DALRO s document entitled "Reprographic Reproduction of Copyright Material for Educational Purposes" - Pg.2)

A single copy may be made by or for a teacher, at his/her request, for research, teaching or preparation for teaching in a class, within the following parameters (Regulations 8 & 9):-

a. copies may not be used to create or replace or substitute anthologies, compilations or collective works;

b. copying may not be repeated in respect of the same material by the same teacher from term to term; nor may it be used as a substitute for the purchase of books, publishers reprints, or periodicals;

c. no copies may be made of or from works intended to be ephemeral, including exercises, standardized tests and test booklets and answer sheets or similar ephemeral material;