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.
This document details the intellectual property rights of staff and students of SMU. Please click links below to access the policy
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.
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 July 2019 to 1 July 2022.
Copyright Licensing and Administration Society of Singapore (CLASS) - Multiple Copying License
SMU has a license with CLASS, which allows for multiple copying of publications, 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.
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 Dealing and Education, which allow for copying within the stipulated limits. The Act is currently being reviewed by Ministry of Law.
Fair Dealing / Fair Use
There are some “fair dealing” 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 dealing” as determined by the Court.
Factors the Court may consider in determining “fair dealing” 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 dealings 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 dealing so long copying limits are observed. For a published work of at least 10 pages, the copying limit is 10% of the total number of or one chapter of the work, whichever is greater.
(adapted from www.ipos.gov.sg, Jan 28, 2020)
The amendments to the copyright law is in progress. This page will be updated after the revised legislation comes into effect.
The Copyright Act permits persons who are blind, 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.
Guide to Copyright Compliance
The following Checklist aims to help educators, librarians and others evaluate content uses to determine if the fair dealing exception applies. This tool provides a means for recording your analysis, which is critical to establishing "reasonable and good-faith" attempts to apply fair dealing principles.