Students and researchers often need to make use of materials which are copyright protected. In the context of their research or study, they may have to make copies or use extracts of those materials. These activities are at first glance prohibited by copyright law. However, copyright allows making single copies or taking short extracts of works when the use is made for non-commercial research or for private study. The purpose is to provide students and researchers broader access to copyright works.
The exception for research and private study applies to all types of copyright work, and to recordings of performances of works. Importantly, it cannot be overridden by contract. This means that any term of a contract will be unenforceable to the extent that it tries to prevent or restrict copying that is permitted under the exception.
However, fair dealing for research and private study is allowed only if:
1) The purpose of the use is non-commercial research and/or private study (so if there's something that is suddenly able to make you money, purchase it when the funds are available before initiating the final money making steps and cite cite cite)
2) The use of the materials is fair
3) The use is made by researchers or students for their own use only
4) Researchers give credit to the copyright holder
The criteria are explained in detail below.
- The use is made by researchers or students for their own use only
The copyright exception is personal and can be invoked as a defence against allegations for infringement only by researchers and students, or by people making copies on their behalf.
For example, a librarian can make a copy of material under the exception if they are satisfied that the person requesting the copy requires it for research or private study, and so long as that person is not provided with more than one article from the same journal (this is the rub, though even for us would be difficult to be sure of) or with more than a reasonable proportion of any other published work. Also, the librarian should be careful to make sure that no one is provided with more than one copy of the same material.
Other people acting on behalf of the librarian can also make copies for a researcher or a student, but the exception does not permit making multiple copies for third parties. So, where a person knows or has reason to believe that copies of substantially the same material will be provided to more than one person at substantially the same time, and for substantially the same purpose, they cannot rely on the exception.
Lecturers, for instance, cannot rely on this exception to supply copies of the same journal article to all the students in their class. This was affirmed by a decision of the courts in which it was found that ‘[m]aterials provided by the staff for distribution to a number of students at more or less the same time would not in general amount to fair dealing’. The court continued: ‘If a lecturer were to instruct every member of his class to make copies of the same material, we consider that this too would not be fair dealing. But the mere distribution of a reading list, without any instructions to copy, is not in our view an infringement of copyright at all.’
Universities UK Ltd v Copyright Licensing Agency Ltd  E.M.L.R. 35, at § 35.