Copyright and Online Teaching

The following information about copyright has been compiled by Library Services to assist academic staff in preparing online material for students.

Copyright Guide: City has a Copyright Guide. There is a section about Copyright and Lecturing; a lot of the information there is also applicable to preparing resources for online teaching.

Digital course readings service: Scans of extracts from certain books and journals can be made available to students via links in Reading Lists Online, using the digital course readings service. Currently the library may be able to help academics make available larger extracts from books and journals than is normally the case, although scans will need to be provided from academics’ copies (as librarians do not have access to the books in the library at the moment). Academics should contact their subject librarian to discuss this. The Digitisation Team can also be contacted about this (digilib@city.ac.uk). More information about this service can be found at this webpage: https://libraryservices.city.ac.uk/resources/digital-course-reading.

Legal exceptions: The law permits staff and students to copy material from published works for research and private study, quotation, and educational purposes, without asking permission from publishers. You may only copy as much as is required, and in total must not copy more than 10% from any published resource.

Assistance with accessing resources: If staff and students are unable to access anything they need from the Library, they should contact us via our online chat service, which is staffed Monday-Friday, 9am – 5pm, or send us an email (library@city.ac.uk) or submit their enquiry through the Ask Us service at any time. Library staff will see if they can find a solution.

Broadcast material: City subscribes to a resource called Box of Broadcasts which has an archive of over two million TV and radio broadcasts that can be used for educational purposes. You can put links to the broadcasts in Moodle, Reading Lists Online, emails, etc. Box of Broadcasts is not normally available outside of the UK; however until the end of July 2020, staff and students who are in the EU will be able to access it.

Copyright Librarian: City’s Copyright Librarian is available to respond to copyright enquiries. He can be contacted on digilib@city.ac.uk, and aims to respond to enquiries within two working days.

Open Access journals and books:

Articles that have been published in Open Access with a Creative Commons licence may be freely shared. Open Access content may be found in the following ways:

  • BASE and CORE allow many Open Access sources around the world to be searched
  • Sherpa Search is a trial search service to search across UK Open Access institutional repositories
  • Google Scholar may indicate if an article is available to view.

For journal articles that you have written, publishers will often allow authors to use these within your institution for educational purposes. Check the publishing agreement if you are not sure.

There is a Directory of Open Access books.

Open Educational Resources: These are resources that can be freely used, and sometimes modified, by educators. They are made available under Creative Commons licences (see the Copyright Guide for further information).

Two sources of such resources are: Where to find OERs from the University of Edinburgh, and OER Commons.

Assessing risk: If you are not sure whether you may infringe copyright law, ask yourself the following questions:

    1. Is it likely that what you are doing infringes copyright?
    2. Is it likely that the copyright holder will discover your activity?
    3. Is it likely that the copyright holder will object to your activity?
    4. What is the impact (both financial and reputational) if the copyright holder was to take action against you or the University?

If the answer to the first three questions is ‘yes’, then it may be advisable to request permission from the publisher. You can also contact the Copyright Librarian (digilib@city.ac.uk) for guidance.

Further information:

The book ‘Copyright & E-learning: A guide for practitioners’ contains much helpful guidance. It is available as an e-book via Library Services.

A blog post on the UK Copyright Literacy website provides some more detail and there is a lot of other useful copyright information available too.

A lot of the above information applies at any time, not just during the current crisis.