Quoting other people’s work is a normal part of academic writing. But of course when you quote someone else’s work, you are copying it, and copying a work is a ‘restricted act’ in law. A recent change in law now allows copyrighted material to be quoted provided:

  • the work has been made available to the public
  • the use of the quotation is ‘fair dealing’ with the work
  • the extent of the quotation is no more than is required (reasonable)
  • the quotation is accompanied  by sufficient acknowledgement

It’s important to make sure the quotation is used to make your point as part of critiquing or reviewing the work and you quote only as much as you need to make your point.

Note that it may be ‘fair’ to copy up to the whole of a work, such as a poem or a diagram, provided that you can argue that your comment on it is sufficiently full and detailed.

This applies to examined, non-examined work and academic papers/conferences.

If you want to quote a work in a way which is not covered by legal exceptions or by the licences that the University holds, you can always get in touch with the copyright owner of the work and ask for permission directly.

For more information please contact the University’s Copyright Advisors:


Updated by C. Greasley, 2nd February 2018.

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