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Reasonable Amount

What constitutes as a ‘reasonable’ amount for copying and communication?

There are special exceptions for educational institutions which allow for the making of multiple copies or communication of literary and dramatic works, subject to certain specified limits.

Such multiple copying and communication may be carried out by any person (for example, a lecturer, administrative staff or student), but must be done on the premises of the educational institution and for the purposes of a course of education provided by the institution.

The specified limits under Section 51 are:

For physical works

  • Not more than 5 pages if the work is less than 500 pages.
  • Not more 5% of the total number of pages if the edition has more than 500 pages.

For electronic works

  • 5% of the number of words if there are no pages.
  • 5% of the total number of bytes in that edition.
  • 5% of the contents in the edition if it is not practical to use words as a measure.

Where a literary, dramatic or musical work is accompanied by an artistic work for the purpose of explaining or illustrating the article or other work, the defence in Section 51 is extended to such artistic works which accompany literary works for the purpose of explaining or illustrating the literary work.

Do note that no other part of the same work may be copied or communicated by or on behalf of the same person within 14 days of the first copying or communication.

If the total amount of work that the lecturer communicates exceeds the 5% limit, it may be possible to rely on Section 52 of the Copyright Act which provides for a statutory licence scheme which permits an educational institution to communicate copies of books and articles for the educational purposes of the institution. The amount which can be communicated is greater than that allowed under Section 51, but is subject to the right of the copyright owner to seek payment of equitable remuneration.

The specified limits under Section 52 are:

For literary, dramatic, musical or artistic works:

  • 10% of the number of pages, or 1 chapter of the work
  • 10% of the total number of bytes, if it is an electronic medium and has no pages.

For articles within a periodical publication:

  • Not more than 1 article in a periodical, unless the articles relate to the same subject-matter.

This limit can only be exceeded if after a reasonable investigation, it is discovered that new copies of the work cannot be obtained within a reasonable time at an ordinary commercial price.