Skip to Main Content


Copyright support at TU Dublin

What is copyright?

What is copyright? 

Copyright is a legal term which describes the rights given to authors/creators of certain categories of works. 
Copyright protects the following types of works: 
•    Original literary, dramatic, musical, artistic works and original databases
•    Film, sound recordings, broadcasts and the typographical arrangements of published editions
•    Computer software and non-original databases
•    Performances 
Copyright protection applies automatically in Ireland to any type of expression of ideas or facts, translated to permanent form. It takes effect as soon as the work is fixed to a medium, e.g. printed on paper, saved to a DVD, on the internet etc. Copyright law protects the form of the expression of ideas, not the ideas themselves.

Who owns copyright and what rights do they have?
The owner of the copyright is the author or creator of the work. Copyright is regarded as a form of property so the right may transferred to someone else, for example a publisher. 
The owner has the exclusive right to prohibit or authorise others to undertake the following: 
•    Copy the work
•    Perform the work
•    Make the work available to the public through broadcasting or recordings
•    Make an adaptation of the work


Using works in copyright

There are a number of exceptions which allow limited extracts of works in copyright* to be used so long as the creator is appropriately acknowledged and the use does not prejudice the rights of the author.

These include: 
•    Research and private study
•    Illustration for teaching, education or scientific research
•    Criticism and review
•    Reporting current events 
•    Caricature, parody or pastiche
•    Text and data mining for non-commercial research 
*Most of these exceptions do not apply to photographs. 

Although it is not stated explicitly in the legislation, it is unlikely that making multiple copies of work will ever qualify as fair dealing. 

The Copyright act includes provision for limited copying so long as it is for the purposes of non-commercial research or private study. The extent of the copying permitted is described by the 'fair dealing' exemption. The amount of copying allowed under 'fair dealing' is not explicitly defined but limits similar to that provided under the ICLA license described below have been deemed to be fair. 

TU Dublin has a license from the Irish Copyright Licensing Agency (ICLA) to carry out limited copying. 
Under the terms of the ICLA license, extracts from books journals and periodicals may be copied provided that they:

  • Are for the educational purposes of the organisations
  • Are accompanied by sufficient acknowledgement such as bibliographic citation
  • Do not exceed one complete chapter or 10% of a book, OR one chapter, one article from a periodical or journal; one short story or poem from an anthology whichever is greater per course of story
  • The equivalent amount from a digital/online publication organised in a non-traditional manner
  • Certain types of works including newspapers, maps and printed are excluded from this licence

This work is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0