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A quick guide to staying within the law when creating online teaching materials


You may want to share a range of different electronic materials with your students when using the University’s online learning platforms such as Canvas and PebblePad. Where you use materials which have not been created by yourself or colleagues within the University, you will need to consider the copyright implications. You’ll find more in-depth under the main Copyright Matters page, but below there are some key dos and don’ts to ensure you stay on the right side of the law.

Sharing books and book chapters

DON’T upload copies of e-books or e-book chapters to University learning platforms.

DO create links to the original e-book using the Library’s instructions for creating permanent links.

DON’T scan hard copy book chapters and share them electronically with your students.

DO request a digitised copy of any book chapter you require to share with your students via the Library’s Digitisation Service, so we can ensure compliance with the CLA licence.

Sharing Journal Articles

DON’T upload pdf (or other format) copies of journal articles you have downloaded via the library catalogue or found online – unless they have been published on an Open Access basis, or you have direct permission from the journal publisher.

DO create links to the original source of journal articles – you can find instructions on creating permanent links to articles you find via the library catalogue, on the Library’s webpages.

DON’T scan hard copy journal articles and share them with your students.

DO request a digitised copy of hard copy articles via the library so we can ensure compliance with our Copyright Licensing Agency Licence (CLA). You can do this via the Library’s Digitisation Service webpages.

Sharing material you find on the web

DON’T upload material you’ve copied from the web to the University’s learning platforms (that includes text, photos, videos, music etc.) unless you have the copyright owner’s permission.

DO check whether material you want to share has been made available under a Creative Commons licence – if it has, then you can usually make and share copies for educational purposes so long as you credit the original author.

DO always ask permission of the copyright owner to copy and upload material if they have not explicitly stated or licenced it for re-use.

DON’T assume because you cannot find the author’s contact details or do not get a response from an author, that you have permission to reuse the material.

DO create links to web-based material which you want your students to use (but be aware that some webpages don’t permit ‘deep linking’ directly to specific articles/images /pages).

Further help

If you have a specific query about copyright or finding appropriate information resources to include in your teaching materials, please ask your Liaison Librarian.