The University respects copyright and other intellectual property rights as enforced in Hong Kong and urges its staff and students to comply with the applicable copyright laws, regulations and guidelines, and suggest precautionary measures. The following is the guideline for using copyrighted material for teaching and learning purposes.

Ownership of Copyright of Your Work

CUHK Staff

The copyright of teaching materials produced by staff members in the course of the University’s employment belongs to CUHK. However, the University will, subject to any contractual obligations of the University, grant a free licence to the staff to use such materials for non-commercial teaching and research purposes under the Policy on Intellectual Property. Please refer to the CUHK Policy on Intellectual Property (para 5.3) for details.

CUHK Thesis and Dissertation

Before September 2008, CUHK retained the copyright of all theses and dissertations of its postgraduate students. Any person(s) intending to use part or the whole of any thesis or dissertation submitted before September 2008 in a publication has to seek permission from the Dean of the Graduate School.

Since September 2008, the authors of CUHK theses or dissertations hold the copyright. However, to provide wider accessibility of theses or dissertations for scholastic and academic purposes, all postgraduate students have to grant CUHK a worldwide irrevocable, non-exclusive right to digitize and make their work available for scholastic and academic purposes provided that proper acknowledgment of authorship is given.

Fair Dealing Exemption

Under the current Copyright Ordinance, copying in whole or a substantial part of a work without the agreement of the copyright owner could incur civil or criminal liability. However, some copying, known as fair dealing, is permitted for educational establishments. To enjoy “fair dealing”, please refer to copyright exemption – fair dealing for details.

If the fair dealing for education exemption is not applicable, and you still wish to use copyrighted material for giving or receiving instruction, you need to:

  • Seek permission from the copyright holder –  Even when using your own content, for example, the copyright of an article written by you may have been assigned to the publisher who may not allow the work being used in another work, or
  • Use material licensed under a Creative Commons license or in a public domain


Please also refer to the following guideline for using copyrighted material for instructional purpose:

Photocopying of Printed Works

Under the fair dealing exemption of the existing Copyright Ordinance, non-profit-making educational establishments or students are allowed to make photocopies of literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works to a reasonable extent for giving or receiving instruction where no relevant licensing schemes are available.

The extent of permissible photocopying of printed works varies with different literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works. Details can be found at Guidelines for Photocopying of Printed Works by Not-for-profit Educational Establishments (pages 4-6).

Notice on restriction of use of photocopier is available in the library to alert users about the restrictions on photocopying.

The fair dealing exemption does not apply to printed course pack production, and if licenses under licensing schemes are available in respect of the relevant work. Please refer to the web site of the licensing bodies for the licenses granted by them. CUHK has signed agreement with HKRRLS regarding printed course pack production.

Private Study and Research

Hong Kong’s Copyright Ordinance allows fair dealing in any type of copyright work for the purpose of research or private study. Please refer to copyright exemption – fair dealing or IPD’s Copyright in Education in Hong Kong.

Licensing Bodies in Hong Kong

Licensing schemes for different materials are offered by different licensing bodies in Hong Kong. Please refer to their web sites for details.

Use of Library Materials

The Library duly observes related provisions in Hong Kong’s Copyright Ordinances. The guidelines below are compiled to provide Faculty and students with general advice on how to avoid infringing copyright laws in the use of print, non-print and electronic resources of the Library:

Avoiding Plagiarism

Plagiarism is copying a substantial part of a work without proper acknowledgement of the source, an act of using others’ materials as one’s own. It is a kind of academic dishonesty. It is an act of copyright infringement if the copyright of the work in question has not expired or you have not sought any copyright permission in using the work.

The University places very high importance on academic honesty. Detailed guidance can be found in the guideline: Honesty in Academic Work: A Guide for Students and Teachers.

To avoid plagiarism, you are advised to:

  • Keep a good record of sources used
  • Paraphrase long quotations and passages
  • Limit verbatim use of source material
  • Cite the source in case of doubt. Please refer to the Library Guide for guidance on citing sources.

Creating eLearning Content for CUHK students

When creating eLearning material for a specific course for CUHK students, please follow these dos and don’ts:


  • Use CUHK’s eLearning Management System. Hong Kong educational establishments must adopt security measures to restrict access to the third party copyrighted material to persons who give or receive instruction in a specified course of study, and to persons who maintain or manage the network.
  • Ensure any third party copyrighted material is only stored in CUHK’s eLearning Management System for a period necessary for the purposes of giving or receiving instruction in the specified course of study, in any event no longer than 12 consecutive months.
  • Link to the original source of third party copyrighted material licensed by the University rather than upload content into CUHK’s eLearning Management System. Third party copyrighted material can include online articles, videos, book chapters etc. available via CUHK Library. The Library has guidance on how to link to the electronic resources. But first,
  • Check that you are allowed to link to this third party copyrighted material. CUHK Library’s A-Z of Databases provides a link to a resource’s license agreement, which states what is permissible for the particular resource.
  • For other third party copyrighted material it is recommended to:
    • Use content from a source that is open access with copyright cleared. Please refer to the Open Educational Resources guide.
    • Seek permission from the publisher or copyright owner of the third party copyrighted material. This can take months and may cost. You are advised to keep a record of any correspondence.
    • If the third party copyrighted material is in print format, contact CUHK’s Copyright Clearing Office.
    • Acknowledge authorship of the third party copyrighted material in all cases.
    • Seek consent from participants if the material will be recorded and included in your teaching material. Do ensure they understand the copyright of content created belongs to CUHK and CUHK may license the material for use by others.



  • Scan material from chapters and/or articles from books and/or journals
  • Link to websites which contain material that infringes copyright.
  • Use third party copyrighted material if you failed to get permission from the copyright owner.
  • Include CUHK students’ work in the material you are creating.


Please also consult the eLearning Policy at CUHK for details.


MOOCs (Mass Open Online Course) are free online courses provided by different institutions for anyone with internet access to select the one they are interested to. Since 2013, the University has joined Coursera and provides several courses in areas of humanities, economics, education and engineering to world learners. KEEPCourse allows you to access more than 50,000 online courses from top institutions and specialist organisations. Please refer to the following for the courses available and the terms of use.

Coursera is a for-profit company. The fair dealing exemption for third party copyrighted materials does not apply. It means that MOOCs on Coursera cannot make use of the third party copyrighted material licensed by the CUHK Library.

If your MOOCs have to use third party copyrighted materials, you are advised to:

In all cases, please attribute the original source.