"Fair dealing" is an exception under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act which allows a certain amount of copying for purposes of "research or private study". Very briefly, "fair dealing" is understood as:
You may also copy from any type of work for the purposes of criticism or review (e.g. in an essay, article or thesis) provided that you acknowledge the source. The Act does not define the extent of copying permitted in this case but the generally accepted limits are:
Although not established in law, it is generally accepted that the principle of fair dealing applies to electronic works as well as to printed works. However, any copies made must be for personal use, and should not be distributed electronically (e.g. by uploading onto a server) or as printed copies without permission from the copyright holder. The UK Higher Education Funding Councils' Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) and the Publishers' Association have produced guidelines on the use of fair dealing in the electronic environment. The guidelines can be found on the JISC website.
Under UK Copyright Law, copying for commercial purposes is not allowed under "fair dealing".
'Commercial' is to be understood as 'directly or indirectly income-generating' according to the Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA) which summarises acts of 'commercial' copying as below:
"The following cases would clearly count as commercial copying:
This has implications for academic staff and students who are sponsored by commercial companies, who work with spin-off companies and who undertake research on behalf of private clients (e.g. medical research for private health clients).
The University's CLA Licence covers copying for the purpose of the University's commercially-funded research.
"Copies made for this purpose can be supplied to:
This applies to partnership agreements only and does not allow for copying for companies who sponsor studentships/fellowships/placements etc.