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Brian Cockburn Brian Cockburn's principal role is to teach and advise faculty, administrators and students about copyright, and intellectual property.
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Phone: 8-6978

Creative Commons License

Copyright@JMU is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License


Using Protected Works in the Classroom

Using other's works in the face-2-face classroom is usually done by seeking permission or using one of the exceptions within copyright.  For teaching activities in a face-2-face setting we usually rely on Section 107 (Fair Use) and 110(1) (Performance and Display in the classroom) of the copyright law.

However, before deciding whether to seek permission or use the exceptions you should decide if, in fact, the material is protected by copyright law  There are many items in the Public Domain that do not require permission to use.  The Public Domain Slider might assist you in determining whether a work is in public domain.

If you determine that the work is protected you have two choices:  Use an exception to the exclusive rights provided to owners (Section 107 (Fair Use) and 110(1) (Performance and Display in the classroom) or seek permission.  Normally, one doesn't need to seek permission if your use falls within the provisions.  Use the Exceptions for Instructors eTool to determine if your use satisfies the requirements.

By the way, don't assume that just because you wrote an article or book etc that you can use it without considerations.  If you have transfered all of your rights to a publisher, some uses might actually infringe the copyright, which is now owned by the publisher. (more)

Posting Protected Works Online

Instructors may post almost any material in an online course managmement system provided its use falls within the provisions of law that limit the exclusive rights provided for by copyright. (more)  Specifically, the TEACH Act (Section 110(2) which attempts to "harmonize" the ability to teach online with the ability to teach face-2-face.

The TEACH act provides for encoding and online transmission of protected material for educational purposes.  It is subject to certain provisions, which are, among other things, (1) that the original be lawfully made and acquired; (2) that only reasonable and limited portions be used; (3) that it be a regular part of the systematic mediated instructional activities of an educational institution; (4) and that it be directly related to the teaching content.

While each use must be assessed on its own merits, there are some basic guidelines.

In general, a faculty member may post a single chapter or approximately 10% of the contents of a book for use by their students, without infringing on the author’s and publisher’s copyright in the work.

Capturing, copying, or “ripping” protected media (music, video, or images) to include in a protected course managment system may be permissible provided that you obtain permission OR your use falls under provisions of the above TEACH Act. (more).  Furthermore, a policy from the Librarian of Congress states "Professors may legally extract movie clips and incorporate them into lectures, other videos, and teaching material." (more)  

Quoting from or displaying a public blog or other social network, like Facebook or Twitter, is no different than quoting or displaying from any web source. (more)

Use the Exceptions for Instructors eTool to determine if your use satisfies the requirements.

Best Practices for media in Online Course Materials

Pointing to or “embedding” publicly available media within Blackboard, PowerPoint, Prezi or other software is probably fine.  However, capturing, downloading, or "ripping" media from those same public websites usually require your use to be evaluated as Fair Use, be part of the exceptions provided by education exceptions in 110(1) and 110(2), or that you have been granted permission. (more)

Tools and Links

Ownership of Teaching Materials

At JMU, except under certain circumstances, the course materials you create, including lectures, syllabi, etc. are the property of you, the teaching faculty member. (more)  Since traditionally faculty members have been granted the copyrights in their works, there is nothing more you need do to own your course materials. (more)