Internal, open access

Electronic Information & Internet Resources

Internet resources are covered by copyright in the same way as print and hard copy resources. With the copy and paste function making copying from the Web seamless, it is often very easy to forget that the item that is being copied belongs to someone else who has expended effort in creating it. Uploading and putting information on to the Internet is a form of publishing, which is important to remember when it comes to copyright. Internet resources covered by copyright are wide-ranging, from text in blogs through to databases and their content. Copyright not only depends on the type of material you copy but also where you copy it from, as some resources are governed by separate licences. Subscription-based (or password protected) resources are covered separately, so if you want to copy from one of these resources please go to Subscription-based and licensed electronic resources


Wherever it is on the Internet, for example in a blog, wiki, email, on a web page, news site, and so on, text belongs to the person or organisation whose page or blog post it is. If you want to copy text from the Internet ('copy and paste' or print off) as part of your teaching materials for distribution to your students, make sure you ask the following questions:

1. Is there a copyright statement? - there is usually a clickable link at the bottom of the screen which will either say 'copyright' or 'terms and conditions' or 'terms of use'. This will tell you what you are permitted to do with the content.

2. Is it made available under a licence? Some licence agreements (such as for Wikipedia) allow you to copy the content as long as you reference it correctly. Creative Commons licences tend to work this way.

3. Did the University or I have to pay to access it? If yes, see Subscription-based and licensed electronic resources

4. Do I think it might be an illegal copy? (for example, free material on the Internet that is still in copyright, such as works by Sylvia Plath or James Joyce). If so, don't copy it or link to it as this could have serious consequences for both you and the University.

If you are in any doubt about whether you can use text from the Internet in your teaching materials, you can either link directly to the page on which the text is on (although there are some sites which do not permit this type of linking such as Harvard Business Review), link directly to the homepage of the site or contact the Copyright & Compliance Officer for advice.

You may be able to use short excerpts of text in your materials as long as you are using them for criticism or review. This comes under the fair dealing exception within copyright law. Be careful though as fair dealing is subjective - news reporting sites, for example, are very protective of their content and even copying a few words may be seen as an infringement of copyright.    


Never assume that just because images are available on the Internet they are free to use. Be careful when copying images from the Internet because image rights holders are very protective of their works. Don't just right click on an image and save it - most legitimate image sites will have a download or share function which will allow you to download the image. Never copy logos without permission, as they will likely contain additional rights such as trademark and design.

Image licences range from open licences such as the Creative Commons Attribution licence to restricted access images containing watermarks. Never remove watermarks - you must pay for these images if you want to use them. High quality high resolution images will always come with a price - stock photos from Getty Images for example.

Finding 'free' digital images: There is an excellent interactive tutorial on image searching from Intute and JISC Digital Media which teaches you how to find useful sites and learn how to search for images that you can use freely on your websites as well as in your teaching materials.

Video / Film

Video is much more widely available on the Internet courtesy of sites such as YouTube and iTunes. Terms and conditions will usually prevent you from downloading and re-uploading video content, but you will be able to link to it or embed it for streaming within your presentation or Blackboard area. Do not link to anything that you think is infringing content, for example commercial films, as this could have serious consequences for both you and the University. If in doubt, ask or check with the Copyright & Compliance Officer.

For making your own films and videos to put on the Internet, please see Publishing AV material to the Web. Much of this advice also applies if you are creating a film for any other purpose.

For using film and video from a medium other than the Internet, see TV, Film, Videos and DVDs

On Demand Services

On-Demand services such as the BBC iPlayer and Channel 4's 4oD service can be used for educational purposes, including viewing in class and linked to or streamed on Blackboard. You may not download programmes or record from the online services as they are not broadcasts and are therefore not covered by the University's ERA licence. 

Music / Audio

See Music, Sound Recordings and Radio for using recorded audio/sound materials

For creating your own audio files or including music in your own footage, please see Publishing AV material to the Web

Things to do now

Try image searching to help you find free images!


Making a film or audio production? Go to Publishing AV material to the Web


Wanting to use Music, Sound Recordings and Radio?


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