Research students are generally able to rely on the 'fair dealing' provisions of the Copyright Act 1968 to copy extracts of materials for which they don't own the copyright. This is provided that the copying is of a 'reasonable portion' and for the purpose of 'research or study' only. To include such material in a printed or online thesis see 'Using third party material in your thesis' in this guide.
A reasonable portion is generally:
There is no limit on the amount of work that you can reproduce for the purpose of criticism or review however it would be unusual in most theses works. It is most likely that the use of copyright works for a thesis will be under 'fair dealing' for research of study. If you are critiquing or reviewing you must meet the following criteria:
The word 'fair' is not defined in the Copyright Act. In practice the 'criticism or review' exception is likely to give you more protection if you only include short extracts as you review or critique them rather than quoting the complete work.
You can reproduce short quotes from a literary or dramatic work for your research or study purposes and incorporate them into your thesis without the need for permission from the copyright owner, however the Copyright Act does not define "insubstantial" in these circumstances. If you are uncertain whether your use complies, contact the University Library Copyright Librarian for advice.
All uses of copyright works must attribute the author(s).
The 'fair dealing' provisions of the Copyright Act may not apply if you have the copyright owner's permission or if the material is subject to a contractual agreement. In these cases you will need to comply with the conditions under which permission was granted or the terms and conditions of the agreement.
Finding open access materials (links to Creative Commons/Public Domain image sources)