Copyright Tips

A self-service guide to analyzing copyright questions

Ask A Librarian

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Cory Budden
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Nottage Library
Bangor Campus

Frequently Asked Questions

My use of [choose any or all] video, articles, books, images, music is educational so I can put it in Brightspace... right?

Educational use addresses the "purpose" of the use but is only one of four factors that must be considered.  Nature, amount, and effect on the market must be considered as well. See the Fair Use Checklist for determining Fair Use.

Can I put my textbook on e-reserve?

This is not permissible under copyright law.  In some cases one chapter on e-reserve is permissible under fair use.  Have you considered using open access textbooks to help your students save money?  For more information see our Open Educational Resources Research Guide.

Should I use YouTube videos in my Brightspace class?

Educators use a variety of media in the classroom, as you know; determining whether the use is considered covered by Fair Use or the TEACH act is covered elsewhere in this guide.

Typically, we advise against using work that has been illegally copied and loaded onto YouTube.  Within reason, we can certainly make clips and create streams for your use in films.  It sounds like the same thing--they're both streams--the difference is one is paid for and then streamed on a secure server where the link is disabled after the semester is over, while the other is of unknown origin and may be taken down by the true copyright holder. Even if it is a legal copy it may be taken down unexpectedly.
Students are using images from internet sources (that may be copyrighted) in their group presentations.  I’ve also used images I found on “Google Image”.  Am I infringing on the copyright?  
Most likely not.  As long as the images are used in class, it’s fine.  Just keep it a reasonably short period of time (a semester is the rule), and get permission if you plan to re-use the image.   

I found an article in one our databases this morning—I want students in my online class to read it this week.  Can I copy and paste it into Black Board?

See the e-reserves box in the Best Practices tab for more information.

What are the rules for downloading audio and video content from a public site (like Reuters/NYtimes/AP/etc.) and providing that video for students in a blended classroom environment? 

Embedding copyrighted content (streaming video from a public site like You Tube, NY Times, or other freely available sites) is not permissible.  It is permissible, however, to post a link to the streaming content so that viewers can access it themselves—try to make sure the link is to a legitimate source.

Can I stream an entire video through my Brightspace course site?

This depends. You may need permission from the copyright holder. There may be a licensing agreement that makes copying and redistribution acceptable. Or there may be a streaming service that will provide a stream legally.

Consider using portions of a video rather than the whole as streaming may fall under fair use or the TEACH Act. 

What are the rules for providing students with content that they have access to through the UMA library databases in a blended or purely online classroom?

Any content used in the online classroom and shared with students should be provided via e-reserves.  If that is not possible, a chapter from a book for example, provide a scanned copy to the e-reserves librarian for uploading in the e-reserves folder.

What are the rules for posting instructor resources online?  What about PPT files that accompany a textbook? 

Check the contract from the vendor.  In many cases, the files may be uploaded onto Brightspace if it is to be used in conjunction with the textbook, but to be on the safe side, check the contract on the DVD itself.

Are there any copyright exceptions for online courses?

Yes. See information on the TEACH (Technology, Education, and Copyright Harmonization) Act of 2002 and Fair Use elsewhere in this guide.

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