Copyright and Licensing

‚ÄčKnow what materials are protected and how you can use them.

Copyright: Generally, the types of works protected by copyright include literary works (including computer programs), dramatic, musical and artistic works, sound recordings, films, broadcasts, cable programmes and typographical arrangements of published editions.

You may refer to the Copyright Guide for more details.

Licensing: For products and services that are under license agreements, please note that certain uses are prohibited (refer to license agreements below).

Staff who wish to reproduce or use a work in a way beyond that which is allowed by the Copyright Act, are to get permission from the publishers and/or authors or the respective authors' or publishers' associations or pay the requisite royalties to them.

To avoid copyright infringement, students should be asked to refer to books, articles, or AV materials which can be made available in the Library.

Users will be personally liable for any infringement of copyright.
Photocopying of library materials

You are to comply with the provisions of the Singapore Copyright Act (Chapter 63). Photocopying and reproducing from books, journals, periodicals, etc. constitute infringements of copyright unless the acts fall within the exceptions.

The valid exceptions are those related to non-commercial/non-industrial research, private study, and teaching purposes.

Research and Private Study

The fair dealing exception allows copying of

  • ONE copy of an article from a periodical, OR ONE copy of 2 or more articles on the same subject-matter from that periodical
  • ONE copy of not more than 10% of the total number of pages of a published work (if the work contains more than 10 pages), OR ONE copy of one chapter of the published work even if one chapter exceeds 10% of the total number of pages.


Staff can make copies of

  • Up to 5 pages of a work (excluding articles) for works with 500 or fewer pages
  • Up to 5% of the total number of pages for works with more than 500 pages

Note: Photocopying has to be done for a course of study provided by the University on the University's premises and there has to be a 14-day time gap between each occasion for making the copies from the same book.

Audio-visual screening

Audio-visual titles can be screened as required for students enrolled in a course. Lecturers will inform the Library of the film(s) assigned to the class for viewing, and the course(s) in which students are enrolled.         

For leisure/non-course-related screenings, only titles with Public Performance Rights can be screened. AV titles with public performance rights can be retrieved with a simple Library Catalogue search by typing "public performance rights" in "word(s)" field. Users are advised to view the copyright and license notices included in the materials for additional conditions imposed by the copyright holders.

Public Performance Rights apply to literary, dramatic and musical works, with the exceptions for some types of materials. For musical works, the Composers and Authors Society of Singapore Ltd (COMPASS) administers such licenses. More than one category of copyright interest may arise in the public performance of a work. The Copyright Tribunal has jurisdiction over the granting of public performance licenses and the terms and conditions of the licenses.

For more information on screening films in the Library premises, please refer to the policy on Film Screening in NTU Library.
License Agreements

Use of electronic resources subscribed by the Library is governed by license agreements negotiated between the Library and publishers/vendors. These license agreements are legal binding contracts that allow staff, students and other authorised users to access the resources for non-commercial, educational, scholarly and research purposes.

In general, the license agreements prohibit:

  • Large-scale or systematic downloading of single or multiple copies of abstracts, tables of contents or full text documents in print or electronic copies
  • Utilisation of software programmes or routines designed to continuously and automatically search and index the resources, such as spiders, web-crawlers and robots
  • Alter, amend, modify, abridge, translate or change in any manner the licensed materials
  • Sales and exploitation of licensed materials for any commercial purposes
  • Publication, distribution, mount on any electronic network, or retaining portions of licensed materials or combining them with any other material


Please refer to individual license agreement provided by publishers/'vendors' websites for full description on the conditions of use.

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