Your course website in Blackboard must have one Copyright Notice that identifies copyrighted materials from publishers and/or other sources including Creative Commons. image

What things are copyrighted?

    You can assume that most of the “content”—texts, images, audios, and videos—that you would use in your instruction are under copyright.  The biggest exception is “public domain” content, including government-produced material and works whose copyright has expired.  (When Works Pass into the Public Domain)

Aren’t educational uses exempt from copyright?

    Many educational uses are exempt under a doctrine called “fair use,” but these exemptions are neither open-ended nor indefinite.  There are guidelines about how much content can be used and for how long.  (Copyright Basics: Fair Use)

Can I show a movie, read from a book, etc. in class?

    Yes, and without limitations.  (Classroom Use Exemption

Can I make copies of a document (text, picture) to hand out in class?

    Yes, but there limits in the amount of copying and in the duration of use.  The limits on amount are not burdensome, but the duration limit is: copies can only be used for one semester at a time, unless permission is obtained from the copyright holder (see below). (Classroom guidelines for copying of books and periodicals)

Can I use text or media in a multimedia project?

    Yes, but there are substantial limits on how much of any individual item can be used, and there is a two-year duration limit. (Fair use guidelines for educational multimedia)

Can I put a Web video, picture, or text document in my Blackboard site?

    This is undeniably complicated; it depends mostly on how the material is being used.  Specifically, would students view or use the item while being taught in a face-to-face class, or would students use the item outside of the face-to-face classroom setting?
    In the first case, entire texts or images can be posted, but only portions of videos.  “Portion” is not defined, but it is taken to mean a small part.  In the second case, items such as assigned readings, videos, etc. should not be posted.  Instead, you can and should post a link to the item; this does not violate copyright (and also saves storage space in Blackboard).  (TEACH Act)

How do I get permission from a copyright holder?

    You send a request to the copyright holder, describing the content, as well as the intended nature, extent, and duration of use.  Note that copyright holders may be very slow to respond. (Copyright Compliance: Obtaining Permission)

What if I don’t know or can’t find the copyright holder?

    You are still not exempted.  In such cases it is better to limit your use of the content under fair use guidelines.  Instead, you can use other content whose permission comes from a known copyright holder, or use public domain content. (Orphan Works)

Can students use copyrighted material, like an image, in a slide show?

    Most examples of student use of copyrighted content in learning activities, including papers and presentations, are allowed under fair use.

Can’t the Library provide copyrighted material for my students?

    The Library can house and distribute material for your course, but fair use limits still apply, including the one-semester limit.  The Library also licenses, with copyright permission, large databases of educational videos.

Finally, what if everything I want to use violates some copyright law?

    Use public domain content, especially which produced by the federal government or licensed under Creative Commons.  The government produces a very large amount of content on virtually all topics. 
    A large amount of copyrighted educational content is licensed under Creative Commons, which means it can be used freely in teaching. (Creative Commons)
    Use the College’s digital video databases.  The College has databases with thousands of video clips on many subjects.  These videos can be freely used in face-to-face and online teaching.
    Consult the Library on finding public domain content, using the digital video databases, and interpreting copyright laws and guidelines.

Note: Documents in parentheses are taken from a larger collection of Copyright Resources on the College’s public website. Each provides additional information on the topic.
Library: College Copyright Resource Agent
Page Revision Date 8/8/2016