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Copyright Guide

Fair Use

Fair Use permits the limited use of copyrighted work without the need to obtain permission from the copyright holder. Singapore copyright law permits a certain amount of copying for the purposes of:

  • study and research
  • criticism and review
  • reporting current events.

Limited use means as long as the copying limits are observed, i.e. 

  • published works of at least 10 pages - copying limits are 10% of the number of pages or 1 chapter, whichever is more
  • periodicals - copying limit is no more than one article in the same issue of a periodical publication.
  • if stored electronically - 10% of bytes, words, contents or 1 chapter 

If copying more than the amount indicated above, the courts will determine fair dealing by looking at: 

  1. the purpose and character of the dealing, e.g. commercial or non-profit educational 
  2. the nature of the work
  3. the amount and substantiality of the part copied in relation to the whole work
  4. the effect of the dealing upon the potential market for, or value of, the work

Note: Fair Use does not constitute copyright infringement, but you do still need to acknowledge the source. 

(Adapted from Copyright Info Pack by IPOS and Singapore Copyright Act 2021)

Using Library eResources

Access to the Library's eResources, for the purposes of teaching, research, and study only, is restricted to current SIT Faculty, Students, and Staff, and to Alumni where permitted by license agreement.

Users have to comply with the terms and conditions when using Library eResources. The terms and conditions can be accessed from the respective resource records via OneSearch.  In general, the agreements entered into with the publishers require library users to comply with the following: 

  • no sharing or redistributing licensed material to unauthorized users
  • no sharing of passwords with others
  • no systematic or substantial downloading of licensed material
  • no commercial use for the purposes of monetary reward, e.g. selling, reselling of licensed materials
  • no removal of copyright, trademark, or other proprietary notices from the licensed materials
  • no violation of the Singapore Copyright Act.

Service providers may have other terms and conditions posted on their websites. Please also refer to their websites for the full version of their terms and conditions. 

Copying from the Internet

All website content is also protected by copyright, so you would need the copyright owner's consent if you wish to copy content from the Internet. It's useful to check the policy or terms of use of each website. 

You can also copy a reasonable portion of the content without the copyright owner's consent for the purpose of research or study. Under Singapore Copyright Law, a reasonable portion equals up to one chapter, or 10% of the number of pages, words or bytes, whichever is more. 

If you need to copy more than a reasonable portion, you can check the terms of use on the website. If the terms of use don't allow you to copy more, you should seek permission from the copyright owner.

No matter how much you copy, and even if you use the work with the owner's permission, do not forget to give the proper credit.

Using Music

There are many musicians who choose to release their music under the Creative Commons License. This gives you the legal right to use their music in your videos. 


What is Creative Commons (CC)?

Creative Commons (CC) is a system that allows you to freely and legally use music, movies, images, and other content that has some rights reserved. CC offers free copyright licenses that anyone can use to mark their creative work with the freedoms they want it to carry. For instance, a musician might use a CC license to allow people to legally share their songs online, make copies for friends, or even use them in videos or for making remixes. 

Please ensure that you properly attribute or credit the musician and the track, as well as identify the particular CC license involved, e.g.

This video features the song Desaprendere (Treatment) by fourstones, available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial license.

You can also check the following guide for a list of Royalty Free music. 

Using images

Images in the Public Domain

It may be cumbersome to track down the copyright owners to request permission to use their work, so you can consider using images in the public domain which do not require permission for use. 

You can use Google's Advanced Image Search to find public domain images - see details here. Please note that even if you adjust your search options to search for free-to-use images only, you still need to verify if the image really is free to use.


Creative Commons-Licensed (CCL) Images

You can search for images a CCL on the Creative Commons website, or use Google Advanced Search to look for images, designs, and photographs that have a CCL attached.

There are 6 main types of CCL and all of them grant you basic rights like the right to modify and then distribute a work worldwide for non-commercial purposes. Any images, designs, or photographs that have a CCL attached can be used on your own website or blog without fear of copyright infringement as long as you abide by the conditions of each particular CCL.

Currently, all CCLs are global licenses applicable to most jurisdictions, including Singapore.

Since 2004, all CCLs require the original author of the work be credited. For further details on CCLs please visit the Creative Commons FAQ here.


Stock Images

Apart from searching websites that offer images with CCLs, you can try searching websites that provide “stock” images, designs, and photographs.

Click here to see the list of resources for Licensed and Royalty-free stock Images that you can use. 


Some works in the public domain or free to use might not require you to attribute. We recommend always give credit to the creator and cite your source. See this guide for citing data and images.

Copyright Infringement vs Plagiarism

Copyright infringement is different from plagiarism.

Plagiarism is the use of someone else's words and ideas without the correct attribution, which is considered a violation of academic integrity. 

Examples of plagiarism 

  • turning in someone else's work as your own
  • copying words or ideas from someone else without giving proper credit
  • failing to put a quotation in quotation marks
  • giving incorrect information about the source of a quotation
  • changing words but copying the sentence structure of a source without giving credit
  • copying so many words or ideas from a source that it makes up the majority of your work, whether you give credit or not (see our section on "fair dealing or fair use" rules)
  • copying parts of a work that you yourself have previously submitted or published.



Copyright infringement, on the other hand, is the use of copyright protected materials without the copyright holder's consent. That is, an infringement of the exclusive rights granted to the copyright holder to reproduce, distribute, display or perform the protected work. Copyright infringement, unlike plagiarism, can result in legal liability.