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About Copyright

Use of Copyrighted Works in Course Materials

In general, regardless of whether your course materials (which incorporate other copyrighted works) are to be shared in the classroom, in lectures, or uploaded onto NTULearn, you should first check whether permission has been granted to use or copy the copyrighted work. In particular, you should check if there are any terms of use which accompany the work, and which provide for any limitations of use of the work.


Copying or Communicating Material for Educational Purposes

You are allowed to make a copy of and communicate authorial works (literary, dramatic, musical or an artistic work) and recordings of protected performances for teaching purposes under certain conditions. If the authorial work comes from a periodical publication, the copy or communication cannot contain 2 or more articles from the same periodical publication unless they relate to the same subject matter. For other authorial works, you must ensure that the copy or communication falls within a reasonable portion of the original material.

Do note that if such copies are made, NTU must maintain records of the copying or uploading stating the date it was done and that it was on behalf of NTU. Copyright owners are entitled to make a written request for remuneration from NTU within the prescribed time after the copy or communication has been made. 

For more information, see Section 198.


Copying or Communicating Literary or Dramatic Work

You are allowed to copy or communicate small portions of literary or dramatic work for educational purposes, under certain conditions. The copy or communication must be made either on NTU’s premises or a network operated and controlled by NTU (e.g. NTULearn).

The part of the work that is copied or communicated cannot exceed 5%, unless the work is 500 pages or less, in which case the part must be limited to 5 pages. 

For more information, see Section 197.


Using Materials Available on the Internet for Educational Purposes

You may include a musical / dramatic work / cinematograph films / broadcasts / cable programmes or recordings of  a performance in  your lectures if it is 

  • generally accessible by the public free of charge using the Internet
  • limited to persons who are taking part of the instruction or are otherwise directly connected with the institution where the instruction is given 
  • communicated only on a network accessible solely to the students and staff of NTU
  • acknowledge the work by citing the source from which the work was accessed and the date on which it was accessed

Note : Materials considered “free to access” do not include those accessible only for a limited time that cannot be extended or renewed (e.g. a one-time trial subscription), under a paid subscription, or through circumventing an access control measure (as defined by Section 423). 

For more information, see Section 204


If you are made aware that the material infringes copyright, you must cease the use of the material and take reasonable steps to prevent further access.

The following are some frequently asked questions about the use of copyrighted works in teaching and course materials.


Q1: Can I use images from Google Images in my lectures or course materials?

You are allowed to make a copy of images (or works and protected performances) for purposes of teaching and study. For example, you may reproduce websites, images, and videos taken from the Internet. The access of such course materials should be limited to only NTU students or staff. It should also be circulated only within NTU networks and systems, such as NTULearn. 

However, certain conditions apply. These images (or works) which are copied should be already accessible to the public on the internet, free of charge. This excludes images (or works) which are accessible only through a subscription service or a one-time free trial.

In addition, you should cite the original internet source of the images, the date that you accessed the images and give sufficient acknowledgement.

For more information, see Section 204.


Q2: Can I save or download a copy of a YouTube video to play during tutorials or lectures?

A YouTube video counts as a copyrighted cinematograph film. The owner of a YouTube video has the exclusive right to make a copy of it, or show the video in public.  

Saving or downloading a YouTube video would be making a copy of it and would infringe copyright unless the copyright owner has allowed the downloading. But students and staff are allowed to reproduce videos on the Internet for educational purposes if these videos were originally free for the public to save or download.

In summary, showing YouTube videos in tutorials without the express permission of the copyright owner would ordinarily count as an infringement of the copyright of the film. But Section 204 allows for YouTube videos to be shown, so long as the audience is limited to those who are teaching, learning, supporting the class or staff, and circulated within NTU networks and systems.

For more information see Section 124 and Section 204.


Q3: Can I insert a music track into the slides of my PowerPoint deck as course materials?

You can insert a music track into the slides of your PowerPoint presentation if it is made for the purposes of an educational course which you are conducting. This also applies to your students if they are making a PowerPoint deck for your course. Do not make multiple copies for mass circulation, and do not use it for commercial purposes.

The audience should be limited to those who are teaching, learning, supporting the class or staff, and circulated within NTU networks and systems.

For more information see Section 196.


Q4: Can I create a sketch based on a copyrighted image, a sculpture, or even a building?

Yes, if the sketch is done for the purpose of education and done via a non-reprographic method such as drawing by hand. This also extends to sketches or drawings of buildings and sculptures. In any event, under Section 265 of the Copyright Act, the copyright in a building is not infringed by making a drawing of the building.