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SMU Libraries

Copyright Advisory

Find resources on copyright regulations in Singapore and learn more on making legal and ethical use of copyrighted works


Welcome to SMU Libraries' guide to Copyright.

This guide provides information and resources on Singapore copyright law and how it relates to academic activities such as research and teaching in SMU. The contents in this guide are intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.

What's New

Copyright Act 2021

The new Copyright Act, which came into force on 21 November 2021, replaces the  Copyright Act (Cap. 63). 

The Act introduces new rights, remedies and new exceptions for users, allowing copyright works to remain reasonably available for the benefit of society. More information on the new law can be found in the following resources:

SMU Libraries Copyright Chatbot

Copyright @ SMU

SMU Intellectual Property Policy 

This document details the intellectual property rights of staff and students of SMU. Please click links below to access the policy

Staff Access   / Student Access


Copyright in Course Materials

Faculty members hold copyright to the original Course Materials that they create. These include written lectures, power point presentations, study materials, tests, pre-recorded video lesson, recordings of lessons conducted online and in the selection of readings and assignments for their courses. Faculty may include a copyright notice on their Course Materials to emphasize that they are protected, and that further reproduction and redistribution  are not permitted. 

Students are obliged to respect copyright and  may use course notes and make copies of course materials for their own use only. They may not reproduce, or allow others to reproduce, adapt, distribute, upload or make available for sale, all lecture notes and course materials publicly in any way, without  written consent from the copyright owner. The making or distribution of unauthorized copies of course materials is strictly prohibited and any infringement may be subject to the disciplinary action by the University.


Copyright Compliance Notice for Course Distribution by Faculty

Copyright compliance is expected when course readings are being distributed by Faculty to students.

Posting and distribution of copyrighted materials on eLearn for course distribution is only permissible if:

i. You own the copyright of the resources posted

ii. Permission has been obtained from copyright owner

iii. License has been obtained/ fees has been paid for the use of the material

iv. It falls within permissible use / educational exceptions under the Singapore Copyright Act 2021

The following guides may also be useful in managing course reading distribution and ensuring copyright compliance:

a) Managing your reading lists

b) Copyright basics

c) CLASS publisher list

d) Faculty guide on distribution of course readings

Please contact the library’s Reading List team at for more information.


The Motion Pictures Licensing Company (MPLC Umbrella License) 

SMU has an umbrella licence from the Motion Picture Licensing Company (MPLC Umbrella Licence) to screen audio-visual content such as movies and other programmes for the purposes of entertaining and educating students, staff and faculty. The current MPLC Umbrella Licence covers the period 1 September 2022 to 1 September 2025..

Staff Access / Student Access


Copyright Licensing and Administration Society of Singapore (CLASS)  - Multiple Copying License

SMU has a license with CLASS, which allows for multiple copying of publications for educational purposes, up to 10% of total number of pages or 1 chapter, or 1 article from a periodical. Publishers whose publications are covered under this license can be found here.


The Singapore Copyright Act

Copyright is an intellectual property right recognized and protected by law. In Singapore this is essentially covered under the Copyright Act (Cap. 63). Copyright exists in all forms of works, such as books, periodicals, magazines, compilations of information, photographs,  manuscripts, computer programs, drawings, sculpture, music scores, lyrics, sound recordings, films, television broadcasts, cable programmes etc. Read more about the Singapore Copyright Act here and note the exceptions on Fair Use on what is permitted use and Educational exceptions, which allow for copying within the stipulated limits. 

Fair Use

Fair Use

There are some “fair use” exceptions to copyright infringement under our copyright law. A certain amount of copying, for example, is permissible as long as it is a situation of “fair” as determined by the Court.

 Factors the Court may consider in determining “fair use” include:

  • - the purpose and character of the dealing (e.g. commercial or non-profit educational purposes)
  • - the nature of the work ( A finding of fair dealing is less likely in cases involving fiction-based copyright works as opposed to fact-based ones)
  • - the amount and substantiality of the part copied in relation to the whole work
  • - the effect of the dealing upon the potential market for, or value of, the work 

In other cases, fair use for the purposes of criticism, review or reporting current events would not constitute copyright infringement. In most of such cases, a sufficient acknowledgment of the work is required.

If you copy works for a specific purpose of research and study, it is considered fair use so long copying limits are observed, as indicated in the Copyright Act:

where the edition has 10 or more pages —

(i) only 10% or less of the number of pages in the edition are copied in total; or
(ii) if the edition is divided into chapters — the pages copied are all from the same chapter;


Users With Print Disability: Request for Resource

The Copyright Act permits persons who are visually impaired or otherwise print-disabled greater and more equal access to copyright works.

SMU students who wish to seek the libraries' assistance to aid access to learning resources may complete the declaration form below and submit the form to the Libraries.

Copyright Checklist on Fair Use

Guide to Copyright Compliance

The following Checklist aims to help educators, librarians and others evaluate content uses to determine if the fair use exception applies. This tool provides a means for recording your analysis, which is critical to establishing "reasonable and good-faith" attempts to apply fair use principles.



The use of electronic resources must comply with the Appropriate Use of Electronic Resources Policy and Singapore Management University Acceptable Use Policy