University of Reading cookie policy

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Making material available online

Uploading copyright-protected material to the internet can constitute a communication to the public, which is one of the restricted acts under copyright law (i.e. an exclusive right of the copyright owner). Re-posting someone else's image or article without the permission of the copyright owner can therefore infringe their copyright. Educational establishments have been sued for hosting material in such circumstances: a UK college was ordered to pay over £20000 for copyright infringement in 2012, while the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled recently that the unauthorised re-posting of a photograph uploaded to a school’s website (within a student project) was an act of communication to the public, despite that photograph being freely accessible elsewhere online. Content being free to access online does not mean that it is also free to copy and share, especially if doing so makes the item available to a potential audience not taken into account by the copyright owner, originally.

Text and Images (from books and journals)

Scanning extracts from books and journals is permitted under the University’s CLA licence as long as we adhere to a range of specific conditions and requirements (including thorough record-keeping and reporting of all digital copies created). For this reason, only Library staff are permitted to scan material from books and journals to make available to students and scanned content must never be hosted in Blackboard. Please ensure you get requests in to the Library as early as you can as the process takes a minimum of 4 weeks. For more information, see scan requests.

Text (digital)

Small portions of published text may be reproduced for the purposes of quotation, as long as you use no more than is strictly necessary and you always credit your source. You should never just copy and paste large portions of text from other sites to re-use online (including on Blackboard). Always check the terms and conditions if there are any, or contact the website for permission to use the text. If you do not get a response, do not just go ahead and copy the text – consider linking to it instead. Be aware that some sites do not allow you to ‘deep link’ to a specific page, so check the terms and conditions carefully and link to the homepage only if deep linking is forbidden. See Electronic Information & Internet Resources for more details.

If the text you wish to use comes from a subscription database or other licensed electronic resource, please see Subscription-based and licensed electronic resources for ways to include this text. Whether the text is in the form of a Word file, PDF, e-mail or PowerPoint, always check the terms of the licence to see if it allows you to use the text in the way you want to. Note that the reuse of resources from subscription-based packages for which the University pays is generally subject to specific terms and you should consult your Academic Liaison Librarian if in doubt. For example, some journal databases forbid the re-posting of downloaded PDF articles in Virtual Learning Environments such as Blackboard. Among other reasons, this is why students should always be provided with the permalink to access an e-journal article, rather than a copy hosted on Blackboard.

Images (digital)

Generally, images on the Internet are the intellectual property of their creators or the people/organisations who have purchased the rights to them. You should never right-click and save pictures from the Internet with the intent to re-use them in your own content without obtaining permission, unless re-posting the image is necessary for the purposes of facilitating specific, germane accompanying critique and does not conflict unfairly with the rights owner’s ‘normal exploitation’ (e.g. a commercial photographer’s expectation of charging a fee). Permission is granted either by a licence in writing from the copyright holder or by paying to use the image. See Electronic Information & Internet Resources for a detailed analysis of using images in your content and also for a list of where to find good quality 'free' images.

Multimedia Resources

If the resources you want to use are found on the Web, it is best to link to them or embed them rather than download and re-upload for your purposes. This includes on-demand services and YouTube. Always be careful when using multimedia from the Web as not everything is legitimate.

If the resources are part of Subscription-based and licensed electronic resources for the University, it is likely that you will be able to download them for educational use (for example, to put into Blackboard), but you will have to check the terms of the licence agreements first.

You can make extracts of films or programmes available for the purposes of examination and assessment, and also for lecture or seminar use - see TV, Film, Videos and DVDs for more information.

Creating Multimedia Resources for online delivery

If you want to create your own teaching and learning materials, for example recording your lectures, many colleagues and functions can offer technical expertise and advice. However, you must first look at Publishing AV material to the Web in order to ensure you have appropriate copyright clearance for any material (such as images) contained within your lecture, and also to ensure you have consent from all parties featured in any recording. Release forms for University photography, filming and audio recording are available to download here.

Things to do now

Use the Permissions request template to request permission to use material from the copyright holder