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Copyright Guidelines for Staff & Students of the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg (WITS): Including copyright material in your work?

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

When Using Others' Copyright Material


  • most online content is protected by copyright
  • always assume that online content is protected - unless you know otherwise
  • if you use unauthorised content, don’t be surprised if you get an email or takedown notice from the rightsowner 
  • if you are including any copyright material in research reports, theses or dissertations which will be placed on an institutional repository, e.g. WIREDSPACE, then ensure you have copyright permission, where necessary,  and that you have acknowledged properly. 
  •  if using a Creative Commons licence or other open source licence, always apply the conditions of the licence
  • if using others' photographs, videos, films, images, etc. online, remember to get permission - also consider privacy issues before uploading them.
  • if using Free material, make sure it is Free (sometimes it picks up the word 'free' in a search, or it was free and is no longer free).
  • check the copyright conditions on the webpage (usually on homepage) - there is usually a link to 'copyright' or 'terms of use' or 'conditions of use'

When in doubt, rather ask for permission, especially if your work will be made available on the Web via a website, blog, e-book, e-journal, institutional repository or ETD database, etc.