Request-a-Copy Button and Copyright Law

‘Request-a-copy’ Button

The School’s repository, Research Online, includes items that are open access, meaning they are freely available online, or closed access, meaning that they are not freely available online for a certain period of time or forever. If the article you wish to consult is one of the latter, fear not, as there is the ‘request-a-copy’ button!


This button acts as a guard to make sure we follow copyright law. Copyright is a collection of rights that govern the copying of a published work. Many people think that if a work is closed access and/or the Publisher is copyrighted that the distribution of this work is prohibited. This, however, is not entirely true. Just as a guard must monitor that only the ‘right visitors’ have access to the palace and the right to enjoy its bounties, the ‘request-a-copy’ button does this for protecting access to closed access items.


Under the Fair Dealing Provisions of Copyright, publications are allowed to be distributed for specific purposes: research, study, criticism and new reporting. The ‘request-a-copy’ button enables the distribution of published material for these purposes.

When one presses the ‘request-a-copy’ button a screen pops up asking for one’s email address and the reason for the request.


This email, i.e. envoy, is sent to the author, i.e. the king or queen, who decides whether or not to accept the request or not. If the request is accepted, an email with the article is sent to the individual who made the request. If the request is denied, an email is sent stating this. The ‘request-a-copy’ allows for all publications to be in the School’s repository without violating copyright law. For more on the specifics of copyright law and research, see: