Online Courses and Copyright

Can I post this video online? Can I scan chapters of the textbook so students can view them from Blackboard? These are some of the questions I receive related to copyright and fair use. Sometimes, the answers are not cut and dry when deciding if and how much of a work can legally be used in an online course. Some of the rules differ from a face-to-face class.

Here are a few resources at CFCC to help you determine how and when you can use certain works:

Briefly, here are six steps you can follow (move to the next step if the answer is “no”):

  1. Does your school own a license for the material?
  2. Is the material in public domain?
  3. Does the material hold a Creative Commons license?
  4. Is your use covered by TEACH Act?
  5. Will your use likely be covered under Fair Use?
  6. Can you obtain permission from the copyright holder?

Please note that the library does own a license for many resources, so this is a good place to start. The license will control how to use the materials.

If you would like a brief introduction to copyright basics, view this short Copyright Basics Video from the Copyright Clearance Center.