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Copyright and Online Teaching

There are pedagogical and technical issues that make the shift from in-person to remote teaching challenging, but copyright does not have to be one of those challenges.

The main consideration

Copyright considerations in higher education can be intimidating. If you have transitioned to online teaching very quickly, you may be concerned that some rules have been bent or broken in the online environment. Many copyright issues are similar in both conventional and online teaching contexts. The main consideration is that online access to materials you provide is limited to students enrolled in your class. 

Typical examples

The instructional tools you make such as video recordings of yourself, live casting your lectures, images and handouts can all be shared for asynchronous viewing by your students.

Slide images are also legal whether via live video conferencing or in recorded video. Again, the issue is whether you are teaching to a restricted or unrestricted audience. As long as you are teaching to an audience restricted to enrolled students, as would be the case when using Blackboard, the legal issues for classroom teaching apply.

Commercially produced audio or video

You may have played audio or video from physical media in your classroom. Commercial producers of that material will not likely want you to make online copies of their material. Instead, consider having students access the material on their own, or use only relevant clips.

The Library may be able to license materials for streaming for your class. Check out the streaming videos services the library provides access to and review the content available. See a Daemen Librarian if you need assistance.

Course readings

For copyright reasons, it's always best to provide links to content available through the library databases rather than downloading and sharing PDFs. Most of our subscription content will have DOIs and other permalink options which will allow access to students with a valid Daemen email address.

If you'd like to share PDFs with your students, our Course reserves service is available throughout the semester. A librarian can assist if you need to access electronic versions of resources.

You could also have your own course guide created, much like this one (only fancier), to serve as a portal to library resources and content for your course. This guide can even be embedded directly into your Blackboard site. Please see a Daemen Librarian.

Remember, it's better not to make copies of entire works, but copying portions of works to share with students is often considered fair use.

More questions? Need help?

Librarians are here to help! Email library@daemen.edu or call 716.839.8243.

The content of this libguide is gratefully adapted from Rapidly shifting your course from in-person to online by Nancy Sims, University of Minnesota Libraries and brought to our attention by Melaine Kenyon, CIO, Daemen College. Thank you to both Nancy and Melaine.