Skip to Main Content


You are in the main content

What can faculty include in an online classroom site?

Instructors may place almost any material in an online classroom site provided its use falls within the provisions of law that limit the exclusive rights provided for by copyright. Specifically, Sections 107, 108, 109, and 110(1) and 110(2) provide the foundation for teaching online and blended courses.

In instances where you are NOT seeking assistance to post, you should document your "good faith" effort in evaluating your use of each item. This is relatively easy to do with two highly recommended tools:

Exceptions for Instructors eTool--Use to help determine if your use in teaching is within the Face 2 Face, and TEACH Act (online) provisions. Media is especially tricky so take a look at "Can I use this song, video, or image in my class site".

Fair Use Evaluator--Broad exceptions to copyright, most often used for publications where one uses portions of other's works.

In instances where you ARE seeking assistance from JMU Libraries and/or CIT for creating electronic files and posting (in Reserves, MDID, or Blackboard), policies of the specific service unit will be applied.

In all cases, the instructor is responsible for the online educational content according to Section 110(2), or the TEACH Act.

Instructor-authored Materials

Instructors may post their own materials, such as lecture notes, tests, exercises, problem sets, and PowerPoint presentations. Bear in mind that if authored material has been published (e.g., in a journal), they may have transferred the copyright to the publisher. In that case, one would need to follow the procedures for using someone else's material.

Licensed Electronic Resources

Electronic materials drawn from JMU Library collections may be included in electronic reserves and course web sites without any further permission by linking to a persistent URL which is normally found in the resource. In some cases, options for embedding are available, as well. See individual resource for the various options to "share"

Unprotected Material

The following categories of material are not protected by the Copyright Act and may therefore be made available on electronic reserves or on course web sites without the permission of the copyright owner: