Copyright guidelines

Guidelines for copyright compliance and procedure for copyright clearance at Aga Khan University

This guideline will explain –

1.0    Ethical Values at AKU

Aga Khan University is an International organization, which recognizes and respects intellectual property rights and is committed to fulfilling moral and legal obligations with respect to the use of copyright-protected works.

2.0    What is copyright?

Copyright is a legal concept, enacted by most governments, giving the creator of original work, exclusive rights to his/her work. In general, copyright recognizes creators for their contributions to society.
Webster dictionary defines copyright as:
"The exclusive statutory rights of authors, composers, playwrights, artists, publishers or distributors to publish and dispose of their works for a limited time.”
Oxford dictionary defines copyright as:
"The exclusive rights, given to the originator of his or her assignee for a fixed number of years, to reproduce or perform a literary, musical, cinematic, etc work and to authorize others to do the same”

3.0    What is protected by copyright?

The types of work which are copyright protected include:

​Books ​Magzines ​Journals Newsletters
​Maps ​Charts Photographs ​Graphic materials
Unpublished materials Analyst's and consultant's reports ​Electronic content
​Computer programs and other software
Sound recordings
​Audio files ​Video files ​Motion pictures
Sculptures Other artistics works Newspapers ​Web pages

  4.0    When should one seek copyright clearance?

Whenever you are using the intellectual work of someone else for any purpose other than private study, you must consider copyright implications. For example, some conditions when one should seek copyright clearance permission are:
  •     Distributing a course pack or other instructional material in print or electronic format
  •     Posting content on an e-learning system
  •     Posting content to an institution's intranet
  •     Photocopying content for classroom use
  •     Photocopying an article for library reserve
  •     Borrowing or lending material through ILL
  •     Reproducing an out-of-print book
  •     Using content in a private consulting engagement
  •     Republishing content in a dissertation
  •     Using or republishing content in university fundraising or recruiting, or in an exhibit
  •     Conducting research for non-classroom use (e.g., during an instructor's private consulting engagement)
    While other people’s intellectual work must always be cited accurately, this is not a substitute for copyright permission.
    In addition, some works may contain materials—text, images and graphics—from multiple copyright holders and may require separate authorization from each one.
    Also, the same intellectual content from different sources may be subject to different conditions of use (e.g. a chapter from a book that has been previously published as an article.)
    Even when you are using work that you created, there may be copyright implications if you have assigned the copyright to another agency, such as a publisher.  In this case, you may need to get permission to copy or distributer your own work.

    5.0    What is fair use?

    Fair use is a judicial doctrine that refers to the use of copyrighted material that does not infringe or violate the exclusive rights of the copyright holder. Fair Use is an important and well established limitation on the exclusive right of copyright owners.

    Establishing the idea whether the use is fair or not depends on four factors -
    • Purpose and character of use
    The work used for nonprofit educational purpose, for criticism, news reporting, or changing the work for a new utility, it will be considered as fair use.
    While the work used for commercial activity, entertainment or denying credit to original author will not be considered as fair use.
    • Nature of copyrighted work
    The use of published and nonfiction work may be fair.
    While the use of unpublished, factual and artistic work may not be fair use.
    • Amount and substantiality of work copied
    The greater amount we use, the less it will be fair. Using the large amount of work or “the heart of the work” will not be fair.
    • Effect of use on the copyrighted work
    The use which affects the royalty of copyright holder will not be fair.

    6.0    Needs and importance of copyright clearance

    To respect the rights of copyright holders and to protect the organization from copyright infringement, it is important to seek permission when needed.
    It is a violation of copyright law to copy, distribute, display, exhibit or perform copyrighted work without the authority of the owner of the copyright. The unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material, including unauthorized peer-to-peer file sharing, may be subject to civil and criminal liabilities. Penalties for infringement include civil and criminal penalties.

    7.0    Who will obtain copyright permission?

    To use any copyright protected work, the responsibility for obtaining copyright permission belongs to the faculty member or user of the copyrighted material.

    8.0    Contents of copyright forms

    Plan ahead when requesting copyright permission. It may take up to four weeks to identify and locate the copyright holder and to receive a reply to your request. For most print and online publications, the publisher is usually a copyright holder capable of providing permission.
    The requestor needs to fill a form to generate a copyright clearance request.

    At the minimum, the request form should include the following:
    •     Your name, address, telephone number and e-mail address
    •     Your title, position and institution's name
    •     The date of request
    •     The title of the work to be copied with a description and citation of that work
    •     A description of how the work is to be used, by whom and for how long

    9.0    Process for obtaining copyright clearance

    1. Faculty fills a Copyright Clearance form available at the Copyright Clearance Office (CCO) or at
    2. The Copyright Clearance Desk staff will check if the material is eligible under Fair Use Doctrine. If permission is not required from Copyright Holder/Publisher then the CCO will inform the requestor.
    3.  In case the Copyright Clearance is required, then the CCO will request permission to copy and distribute the material in classroom or to make the material available at Library reserve or post it online. CCO will try to process      the application within two working days excluding weekends and holidays.
    4.  If the CCO does not receive any reply from publisher a reminder will be sent to the publisher within two weeks of the first request. In case there is no reply from the publisher within four weeks the CCO will communicate this to the requesting faculty and will discontinue any further work or correspondence in this regard.
    5.  The response of the publisher/copyright holder will be communicated to the concerned requestor.
    6.  If the permissions are granted by the Publisher /Copyright Holder on payment of fees the concerned department will pay in advance the fee or any other charges from their departmental budget.
    The CCO is primarily a facilitator to help the organization in getting permission for the use of copyrighted materials. . The CCO will advise the faculty to the best of its understanding of local and international copyright laws. The CCO does not provide legal advice; its purpose is to assist members of the AKU community to follow the University’s copyright guidelines.
    CCO will also not be responsible for any delays in the processing or of getting the Copyright Clearance from the publisher. The CCO will try to provide timely, reliable and effective service to the faculty.

    For any other query, contact us at