Printing course materials

Some course readings are able to be printed for students. The Copyright Act 1968 imposes some volume restrictions on course readings. The use of UNSW Library's subscription content may also be limited by volume restrictions.

Under the educational statutory licence of the Copyright Act 1968, instructors may print reasonable amounts of text, images, and print music for educational purposes. This includes printing for course packs as well as ad hoc printing for specific class meetings.

UNSW Library’s subscription content

The UNSW Library subscribes to a large, diverse collection of electronic resources specifically selected for UNSW staff and students.

The use of these materials is governed by UNSW’s agreements with the publishers or providers and the terms of the agreements vary.

If you would like to print multiple copies of subscription content for use as a course reading, please check the licence conditions first.

  • Find the UNSW Library online resource by searching the Library collection.
  • Check the licensing conditions by clicking Show License in the View It section of an item record.
  • Check out the value for Course Pack Print; if it is permitted, then you are able to print copies for your students.

Freely available online content

Freely available online content can be printed and used as course material. However, restrictions apply to the volume of content that can be printed and used.

Strictly speaking, online content is considered literary work and only a reasonable portion of a work can be copied for students. A reasonable portion is generally considered to be 10% of the words, though more than 10% may be considered reasonable in some circumstances.

Photocopied content from books, periodicals and anthologies

Photocopied content from books, periodicals and anthologies can be printed and used as course material as long as volume restrictions are met. Under the current arrangements with the Copyright Agency, the following limits apply:

  • For books, the restriction is 10% of the pages or 1 chapter, whichever is greater.
  • For articles in a periodical, 1 article can be used, or more if they relate to the same subject.
  • For anthologies, 15 pages can be copied.


Images can also be included in printed course materials.

Examples of images include:

  • Paintings
  • Photographs
  • Cartoons
  • Patterns
  • Maps
  • Diagrams
  • Technical drawings

Images included in printed course materials should be cited in a way that protects the moral rights of the creators. For more information on moral rights see Plagiarism and moral rights.

Print music

Print music can be copied in restricted volumes for the educational purposes of the university. Print music is treated the same as text under the Copyright Act 1968, limiting copying and to 10% of a work that has been separately published.

If an entire work is needed to be copied to be used as a course material, licensing the material separately is the best option.

Computer programs

While the code underlying computer programs is protected as literary work under the Copyright Act 1968, the educational statutory licence does not apply to computer programs or to their underlying code. You will need to obtain permission from the copyright owner for any activities not covered by the licence conditions of the program, including using the code as a course material.

Student work

Students generally own copyright in the materials they create while students at UNSW.

The current UNSW Intellectual Property Policy states that UNSW does not assert copyright in works created by students unless the work consists of teaching materials, the work has been assigned to UNSW by the student, the work has been jointly developed with UNSW staff or the work is subject to an existing agreement between UNSW and a third party.

Because students generally own the work they create, student work should not be used in printed course materials without permission from the student who created the work.

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