Students are warned that notes taken in lectures and course materials supplied to them by departments are to be used by them only for the purposes of research or private study. Similarly, lectures may not be recorded without the permission of the lecturer; if the lecturer permits recording, it must be subject to any conditions which are stipulated at the time of granting permission. The copyright of each lecture delivered in the University is vested in the lecturer delivering it. Failure to heed this warning may result in an infringement of the copyright laws.

Any copying of copyright materials by students must be kept within the scope of fair dealing for the purposes of research or private study under the copyright legislation currently in force in Hong Kong. For details, please refer to

If these guidelines are not followed, students may render themselves liable to legal action from copyright holders for breach of copyright.

The making of copies of copyright materials by Library staff for library users without the express permission of the copyright holder is strictly limited under the copyright law. Generally, subject to certain prescribed conditions, only one copy of one article from a single periodical issue, or one copy of a reasonable proportion of a published literary, dramatic or musical work (other than an article in a periodical) may be supplied by Library staff to a library user solely for the purposes of the user’s research or private study.


Materials on the Internet are protected by copyright. The mere fact that they are made available to the public via the Internet does not mean that they can be copied without permission. Without the copyright holder’s permission or a licence, any copying of such material by a student (e.g. including the material in the student’s work or printing it out on paper) must not exceed the scope of fair dealing for the purposes of research or private study.

Similarly, uploading of copyright material on to the Internet is an act of copyright infringement if it is done without the consent of the copyright holder.


The following aspects of copyright law may affect candidates who will write theses or dissertations:

(a)    Quotations from other copyright material may be freely made in theses or dissertations, provided that there is no intention to publish them and provided they are clearly marked as such and the source given. If, however, it is intended for publication, the following steps should be taken:
(i)    Any quotations should be clearly marked as such (by the appropriate use of quotation marks or indentation) and the source given.
(ii)    For any quotation of more than a few lines, the permission of the copyright holder must be obtained before the thesis is published (but not necessarily before it is submitted).
(iii)   Acknowledgement of permission to reproduce the material quoted should be made in the form approved by the copyright holder.

(b)    Copyright material varies according to the laws of the country of publication, but generally the following may be considered as not subject to the provisions of copyright laws:
(i)     Printed matter the author of which has been dead for more than fifty years (care must however be taken not to quote from a more recent edition which is still subject to copyright).
(ii)    Publications from countries which are not signatory to the Universal Copyright Convention, provided it is not intended to publish the thesis within those countries. The People’s Republic of China and the Hong Kong SAR are signatories to the convention. Taiwan is not.

In case of doubt, it is safest to assume that copyright exists.

(c)    The copyright holder can usually be identified from the publication concerned. It is usually either the author or the publisher, and the statement prefixed by the symbol © on the reverse of the title page (in recent publications) is the source of this information. If no such statement can be found, an inquiry should be sent to the publisher.

(d)  The author is the copyright holder. Upon submission of his/her thesis, to the University Library, the Library seeks consent from the author,

  1. to make copies of the printed thesis in various media for limited use, i.e., for purposes of private study and research only, and
  2. to store the electronic copy in the online database managed by the University’s Library, which is open to universal access.

Deposit of the printed thesis in the University Libraries or another department of the University does not transfer copyright to the University or any part of it. Storage of the electronic thesis in the online database does not transfer copyright to the University or any part of it. The author retains his/her general copyright, which disallows others from publishing materials from the thesis without the author's written permission.

  1. The Copyright (Amendment) Ordinance 2007 which came into force on 6 July 2007 has brought about the changes to the Copyright Ordinance that affects teachers and students. These changes include a new “fair dealing” exemption to allow teachers and students to use or deal with reasonable portions of copyright works, in printed form and for those made available on the Internet, in a fair manner for teaching and learning in a specified course of study. For more information, visit the Intellectual Property Department at or view “Hong Kong’s Amended Copyright Law: a Guide for Teachers and Students” at
  2. On 30 September 2002, the Government issued a set of guidelines for photocopying of printed works by not-for-profit educational establishments with a view to clarifying the extent of permissible photocopying by teachers for classroom use. These guidelines have come into effect since 2 October 2002, and can be viewed at
Warning against Plagiarism

The University does not allow or tolerate plagiarism. This is a grave academic offence. The commission of plagiarism is a violation of the University’s Regulations Governing Students’ Academic Conduct Concerning Assessment. Any student who commits plagiarism is liable to disciplinary action which can result in serious consequences - including expulsion from the University.

All new students are expected to consult the University’s website on plagiarism ( and to complete the Online Course on Plagiarism@HKU Online Learning offered by the Libraries. All students may also consult their teachers for guidance on proper academic practice.

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