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Copyright and Fair Use at XJTLU Library

Fundamental Principles of Fair Use

Under certain conditions, it is permitted to copy the copyright protected materials for private study or research purposes. This kind of permission is referred to as ‘fair use’ or ‘fair dealing’. But not everything is within fair use. To determine whether a use is or is not a fair use, the following four factors must be all applied:

1. The nature of the copyrighted work: The work must be published. Published works refer to those works that have been made public by the copyright owners themselves or other persons under license. The copying of unpublished works is usually not considered as fair use.

2. The purpose of the use: The copying aims at private study, teaching, research, religious affairs, philanthropy or meeting the public cultural needs, and has no commercial purposes.

3. The amount or substantiality of the portion used: Although the law does not set exactly quantity limits, generally it is less likely you are within fair use if you:

  • use a large portion of a copyrighted work

  • use the ‘heart’ of a copyrighted work

  • repeatedly use something under fair use when you should seek permissions

  • create a new work which is similar to the original work and/or appeals to the same audience as the original  

4. The effect of the use on the potential market for the copyrighted work: The normal use of the work shall not be affected, nor shall the legitimate rights of the copyright owner be unreasonably damaged.

Fair Use of Non-electronic Resources

All collection of books, journals, newspapers, audio-visual materials and other non-electronic materials in XJTLU Library are copyrighted. The Library resolutely resists illegal publications.

According to the Copyright Law of the People's Republic of China, for the purposes of display or preservation, the Library can wholly reproduce printed literature resources such as books, journals, newspapers and dissertations.

For individuals:

  1. Copying of a chapter of a print book (no more than 1/3 and never the entire book), or an article of a periodical or newspapers is usually considered as fair use, but the material you would like to copy must be published. Some publishers require written permission to photocopy their publications. In this case, you should consult the publisher's policy or contact the Library first. 

  2. Usually, audio and video products, computer disk or CDs cannot be reproduced.

  3. It is impossible to define how many words you can copy (e.g., ‘you can copy 250 words from an article’). Instead, what matters is the proportion that you copy. Copying of 10% of an article or essay is more likely to be considered as fair use, while copying 50% is definitely not fair use. Thus, be careful when you copy or use the original work.

  4. It is suggested that you contact the copyright owner to obtain permissions in order to use a large amount of the contents in the copyrighted work.

  5. Do not make multiple copies of a work or different works which could substitute the purchase of books or periodicals. For example, you should avoid photocopying different chapters of a work at separate time to get the whole work for your own use.

  6. Do not copy and use the same work (part of the same work) repeatedly unless you have obtained permissions from the copyright owner.

  7. When you intend to use the copyrighted work for commercial use, do contact the copyright owner for permissions.

Fair Use of Electronic Resources

Electronic resources refer to all databases and electronic material purchased, shared or self-built by the Library, all databases under trial use, and all material that has been digitized.

The Library has license agreement with each publisher or resource vendor which spells out the terms and conditions for using these resources.

In order to protect the copyright of Library’s electronic resources, to maintain the reputation of the University, and to guarantee the legal rights of all authorized users[1] as well, individuals should pay attention to and comply with the regulations on the use of electronic resources.

  1. You are allowed to search, browse, download or print single copies of articles. Downloading or printing of an entire issue or a volume of one or more journals is strictly prohibited.

  2. Bulk downloading or systematic downloading/printing are always prohibited. Additionally, make sure that you will not use illegal approaches to download electronic resources that are not available in XJTLU Library.

  3. You may send a copy of an article, a document or alike downloaded from the Library’s electronic resources to another authorized user. You should avoid to unauthorized users (individuals or organizations outside the University).

  4. You have the responsibility to protect your access accounts and computers. You should never give away your accounts or computers to unauthorized users and let them search library databases or use library electronic resources.

  5. You may make electronic material available through a secure intranet or virtual learning environment (e.g. Learning Mall) for teaching use with appropriate acknowledgement of its source and link. Yet some publishers do not permit users to upload resources. Please contact the Library if you are not sure whether certain material can be uploaded.

  6. You should not use the Library’s electronic resources for commercial purposes on all accounts unless you have agreement with the copyright owner.

  7. If you would like to use any external online resources (e.g., contents from other websites, video clips from BBC) for teaching or research purposes, it is suggested that you contact the author, the website or organizations before doing so. You should avoid uploading these external online resources to the University’s intranet or virtual learning environment without getting permissions. If no copyright owner is specifically named, do not assume that the material is in the public domain.


[1] Authorized users refer to all current staff and students of XJTLU, and any visiting scholars and students who have been authorized by the Library to use its electronic resources.