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Copyright: VLE and Digital Contexts

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Images and diagrams in the VLE

  • Copyright of images and diagrams included on a website is owned or licenced to the site owner (unless explicitly stated otherwise) and you should apply to them for permission to reproduce them
  • Copying any material for the purposes of incorporation into Moodle, PowerPoint presentations or other teaching materials must either be covered by the Copyright Licensing Agency Licence, other AECC University College licence or be undertaken with specific permission from the rights holder
  • You must keep a record of all permissions gained for any material copied which is not covered by the Copyright Licensing Agency or other licence agreement
  • Each item must be fully acknowledged and a clear statement provided for each image or diagram. See the images in this guide for examples.
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Use of Copyright Content in Digital Contexts

Digital formats, and the ease with which they can be copied, shared and manipulated, have created many challenges. New technologies are constantly being developed, which the current legal systems are often not equipped to deal with.

Some examples of commonly encountered issues and how to handle them with reference to the relevant clauses of the 1988 Copyright, Designs and Patents Act:

Embedding copyright material in electronic presentations

The embedding of copyright material in electronic presentations is restricted as it requires copying of the material. It could also involve a performance of the work when the presentation is publicly presented, and if recorded or made available on the open web it will involve a communication to the public.

The showing, playing or performing of a copyright work for the purposes of instruction is allowed under a well-established exception (S34), but the audience must be limited to teachers, students and those directly connected with the activities of the establishment. The new exception for illustration for instruction (S32) is also likely to cover reproduction of textual extracts, figures from publications and extracts of audio-visual material in a teaching scenario, but again the usage must be fair. It might also be possible to apply the criticism and review exception if the use of the copyright material is for genuine critical analysis. However in cases where it is unclear if the proposed use of copyright material is covered by an exception, and the copyright holder has not given permission, you may need to make a decision based on an assessment of risk. Some useful questions to ask when assessing risk are:

  • is the presentation only going to be used as part of a teaching event, made available only to students enrolled on a specific course of study?
  • will the presentation be uploaded to a VLE and who will have access?
  • is the presentation going to be recorded and who will have access to it once it is made available?
  • is the presentation likely to be made available on the open web?

Copyright material can be posted on Moodle under certain conditions: Copyright symbol, keyboard, pointing finger

  • you own the copyright in the material being posted
  • copyright in the material has expired
  • permission has been received directly from rights holder
  • the material was copied under CLA licence terms
  • fair dealing or educational instruction exceptions apply

Virtual Learning Environments

You should exercise caution when determining whether exceptions apply. For example adding a number of images to a PowerPoint presentation may be considered fair for the purposes of showing them in a lecture, but if posting the presentation on Moodle increases the number of people who might access the images this could stop it from being regarded as fair.

Lecture recording and narrating

If you are planning to record (or narrate) lectures or presentations and upload them to Moodle you will be required to have cleared rights in all third party material or rely on relevant statutory exceptions. You may need to apply a risk based approach where it is not possible to clear all the rights (e.g. use of orphan works for which it is not possible to clear rights) but be aware that the more widely available the content is, the higher the risk.

Do not upload material to Moodle if rights are not cleared.


Further help

Contact Learning Services for further help and advice. 
Phone: +44 (0)1202 436306

Make sure you have permission

Do not upload material to Moodle if rights are not cleared. Check the rights, upload when you are satisfied and then you can rest easy.

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