Unit of study readings, Library's eReadings & 2 hour collection

University policy on online student readings

To ensure compliance with the conditions set out in the Copyright Act and CAL Agreement, University policy requires that all online, third-party, text-based readings required for student course work be made available through the Unit of Study Readings system operated by the University Library. This includes:

  • chapters that have been scanned from published books
  • scanned articles from hard copy volumes of periodicals

Library staff will make sure that material copied and communicated complies with the limits set down in Part VB of the Copyright Act, the Part VB Notice is displayed and the material can be accessed by your students via the Library’s eReadings system or by a link from a learning management system such as WebCT or Blackboard. See the University of Sydney eReading Service Policy (PDF) for more details.

What types of works are covered by Part VB?

Part VB covers literary, dramatic and musical works including:

  • books
  • journal articles, newspapers,
  • anthologies
  • dramatic works such as plays, film and TV scripts
  • musical scores and notated music

Part VB does not cover the copying and communication of:

  • recorded music – this is covered by the Music Licence
  • TV & radio broadcasts – these are covered by Part VA and the Screenrights Agreement
  • computer programs – you need the copyright owner's permission or a licence to make computer software available online.

Moral rights

Remember to comply with the moral rights sections of the Copyright Act and acknowledge the author and source of each work you use in your teaching documents.


How do I get material into Library's eReadings system?

Send your list to the Library.

For further information, contact your Academic Liaison Librarian.

Library staff will manage the copyright compliance issues for you and provide options for effective use of copyright material. They will also be available to assist you in planning the acquisition of resources to meet your students’ study needs.

For more information, please visit:

How much will the Library copy or make available online?

The Library can copy or scan and make available online the following amounts of material under the Copyright Act:

Separately published literary and dramatic works

  • 10% or 1 chapter of a book (whichever is greater).
  • if an electronic book is not paginated, you can request 10% of the number of words in the work can be copied and communicated.
  • you can request more than 10% or 1 chapter of a work where the work is not commercially available within a reasonable time at an ordinary commercial price.
  • In every case, you should only copy what you need for the educational purpose.


  • you can copy and communicate a literary or dramatic work of not more than 15 pages in length contained in a published print or electronic anthology
  • if the individual work is more than 15 pages long and has not been separately published, the entire work can be reproduced
  • if the individual work is more than 15 pages long and has been separately published, only a reasonable portion of the work, that is only 10% of its pages, should be copied
  • there is no limit on the number of works that can be copied from an anthology - multiple works can be copied as long as each individual work does not exceed the 15 page limit. However, it is suggested that no more than 10% of the total pages of the anthology be copied
  • these limits do not apply to anthologies of music. See entry under Musical scores.

Artistic works

  • a hard copy artistic work which accompanies a literary or dramatic work can be copied for the purpose of explaining or illustrating text
  • the whole or part of a hard copy artistic work can be copied if it hasn’t been separately published or can’t be obtained in a reasonable time
  • artistic works already in electronic format can be copied without further investigation.

Computer programs

Computer software cannot be copied and communicated under Part VB. If you wish to copy and communicate software for educational purposes you will need the copyright owner’s permission.

Musical scores, notated music, sheet music

  • 10% of the work can be copied - applies to separately published scores & published collections of scores
  • more can be copied if the score is out of print & cannot be obtained in a reasonable period of time at an ordinary commercial price.

Periodical articles

  • one article from an issue of a print or electronic periodical can be copied
  • multiple articles from an issue can be copied if they are on the same narrow subject. i.e. a single sub-topic narrower than the subject breadth of the journal.
  • it's Library policy to make links to articles in full-text journals in databases subscribed to by the Library. Access to these databases is governed by licences which usually do not permit files to be copied and stored on servers for access by students
  • making a link to the material allows students to access the material directly
  • there are no limits to the number of links that can be made to an issue of a journal as making a link does not involve any activity under the Copyright Act.

Unpublished works

Unpublished works can be copied and communicated for educational purposes.

Communication limits for book chapters

Note that under Part VB only one portion of a published book can be made available online across the entire University at any one time.

If Library staff discover that 10% or a chapter of a book is already online, they will contact you to discuss possible solutions including:

  • negotiating with the person who placed the initial chapter online. It may be possible to take this chapter down and to make your chapter available online for a defined period of time.
  • the communication limit of one chapter does not apply to print copies so it may be possible to arrange for the University Printing Service to include the chapter you need in a unit of study reader for distribution to your students. This would not be possible if you have already arranged for a different chapter from the same book to be included in a student notes (also known as course packs) for the unit of study.
  • if it is not possible to make your chapter available online it may be necessary to place the print volume in the Library's 2 hour Collection
  • it may be possible to communicate a greater proportion from the work if it is out of print or permission has been obtained from the copyright owner.

Can I ask the Library to make one chapter from a book available online via the Unit of Study Readings Service, and then take that chapter down and make the next chapter available for the same unit of study and so on?

No - sequential or serial copying and communication of chapters from a single book for the same unit of study not permitted under the Copyright Act.

Can the Library copy more than the set amounts?

Yes, if:

  • the work is out of copyright – see Duration of copyright for more information
  • the work is out of print and a new copy of the work is not available for purchase within a reasonable time at an ordinary commercial price.
  • you have the copyright owner’s permission. It is fine to make a request by email (see these sample permission letters), but keep a copy of any permission you receive and always send a copy to the Library.
    When 3rd party material is placed online with the permission of the copyright owner, it is not necessary to display a Part VB notice. However, so that the University knows that the material is communicated with permission and will not have to report it during a sampling exercise, the Library will display a notice indicating that the material is being communicated with the permission of the copyright holder.


Limits on online access

Under Part VB, the University is required to take reasonable steps to limit access to material made available online to staff and students of the University.

  • material on websites must not be accessible to the general public and should only be accessible by a restricted web site where authentication is required, such as WebCT or Blackboard
  • if you email material to students, it should only be sent to enrolled students or University staff
  • potential students and alumni are not covered by Part VB so this section cannot be used for marketing purposes.

Why can't I make digital copies of copyright materials for LMS myself?

Unless you hold the copyright of a text, or have express permission from the copyright holder, making a copy available in LMS is likely to contravene copyright.

The Library's Unit of Study Readings Service:

  • checks copyright compliance with the Part VB licence,
  • adds mandatory copyright notices,
  • keeps the records required by the licence and
  • participates in mandatory copyright compliance surveys under Part VB licence.

Library also provides high quality scans that include all the information students need to reference the reading accurately under the moral rights. Moral rights are rights provided to creators under copyright law in order to protect both their reputation and the integrity of their work.

Part VB Warning Notice

The Part VB warning notice must accompany every copy made available online. The Library will ensure that the Notice is included with every copy made available online via eReadings. If you email any documents to your students, the Part VB Warning Notice should appear before the students open each document.
The wording of the Warning Notice cannot be altered and must appear as follows:


Copyright Regulations 1969


This material has been reproduced and communicated to you by or on behalf of the University of Sydney pursuant to Part VB of the Copyright Act 1968 (the Act).

The material in this communication may be subject to copyright under the Act. Any further reproduction or communication of this material by you may be the subject of copyright protection under the Act.

Do not remove this notice