Skip to content Exit mobile menu

Copyright Guidance for Learning and Teaching

Using Copyright Material in Moodle

It is important to take care when using copyright material for teaching purposes in Moodle. In order to minimise risk of copyright infringement, all  staff are advised to follow these recommendations when making learning resources available for students in Moodle:

    • Avoid posting PDF copies of externally published material to Moodle wherever possible. This practice greatly increases the risk of infringing copyright as it introduces uncertainty as to where the material was sourced. Please use the Online Resource List system instead to post links to online resources, including St Mary's library resources (see point 3 below).
    • Do not make copies of personal books and journal articles and then post these to Moodle. This includes journal content that you may have access to via another university. All material copied for learning and teaching purposes must be owned by owned or subscribed to by the University library service. Library access can easily be checked by searching for your chosen item using Summon Library Search
    • In line with the University Resource List Policy, please use the Online Resource List system to create lists of resources with links for each module of study. This includes a built-in Digitisation service for provision of authorised scanned extracts from books and journals, including those which are not currently available in the library collection.
    • If you wish to provide scanned extracts of books to students, please create an Online Resource List for each module and then use the 'Request Digitisation' option. This ensures that the University complies with the terms of its Copyright Licensing Agency licence.
    • Only reuse images in Moodle if you have permission to do so (e.g. via a Creative Commons licence or direct permission from the copyright owner).

​Using Published Material for Teaching

What constitutes 'published material' and how is it protected?

'Published material' generally means books, journals, magazines in either print or electronic format and carrying either an ISBN or ISSN. These materials are automatically protected by copyright, although some may have additional usage permissions under Creative Commons licensing.

Copying for teaching use under the University's CLA licence

The University pays a substantial annual fee to the Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA) for a blanket copyright licence which allows distribution of published material to students more freely than would otherwise be allowed by copyright legislation.

What can be copied under the CLA licence?

Under this licence, St Mary's staff are permitted to copy extracts from most books, journals and magazines published in the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Germany, Iceland, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Republic of Ireland, South Africa, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

Only material paid for via the University library service can be copied under the CLA licence. This means that one of the following conditions must be true before copies can be made:

    • The library service must own a copy of the book or;
    • The library service must have current subscription access to the journal or book or;
    • The library service must have paid for a 'Copyright-Cleared' version of the article or extract

You can check to see if the material you wish to use is covered by the licence here

What cannot be copied or distributed under the CLA licence?

Copyright material owned in hard copy by members of staff is not covered by the licence and multiple copying of such material (without the specific permission of the copyright owner) is not permitted.

Copyright material obtained online via personal subscriptions or any other external means is not covered by the licence; the University must have paid access via the library service.

How much can be copied under the CLA licence?

Copies from published materials should not exceed the following limits for each module of study:

  • 10% or one chapter from a book (whichever is greater)
  • One article or 10% from any single issue of a periodical (whichever is greater)

Please note that copying beyond the above limits from a single publication for a single module is not permitted and will breach the CLA licence. In cases where students are expected to use the same book repeatedly within a module, please speak to Library staff regarding purchasing additional library copies. 

How should copies be distributed to students?

Copies can be distributed in one of two ways:

  • Online using the Online Resource List System and its 'Request Digitisation' feature (recommended). This ensures that the scanned copy is integrated into the rest of the module reading list and can be printed on-demand by students where required
  • On paper by making photocopies and placing these in a 'course pack' or 'module reader'

If distributing printed copies to students, it is not permitted to charge for these copies except to recover the cost of photocopying. Only a single copy of each item should be provided to each student.

How do I distribute copies of a work not currently owned by the library service?

Please ensure the module has an Online Resource List, add the item to the list and then select the 'Request Digitisation' option. Where possible, the Library Team will purchase a 'Copyright-Cleared' version of the article or chapter and automatically make this available via the reading list. Unless the material is clearly marked as 'Open Access', please do not attempt to source copies of material via online search engines as this is very likely to breach copyright.   

Using Online Materials for Teaching

All staff involved in teaching must be aware of the copyright situation regarding material sourced online via search engines and other tools.

Reusing copyright material sourced online

Online content is considered literary or artistic work in the eyes of the law; therefore you should assume that copyright automatically applies to all material available online (including media files and social media content). You only have the right to copy and re-use this material if permission to do so is clearly stated on the site concerned (e.g. via Creative Commons licences), or you have directly obtained permission from the copyright owner.

If you have permission or a licence to re-use material then it is good practice to acknowledge this through attribution in your teaching materials.

Link to external content rather than make copies

It is good practice to link to online content where possible rather than download and re-post this within your own material. When creating links to external content, it is best to set these to open in a new window/tab. 

Only use published material paid for by the University

The University holds a Copyright Licensing Agency licence permitting limited copying of published material such as books and journal articles. This only applies to material paid for by the University as part of its library collection. It does not permit you to distribute commercially published material (e.g. journal articles) sourced from personal subscriptions or other institutions' subscriptions.

To ensure compliance with copyright in this area please use the University's Online Resource List system and its Digitisation functionality to make published material available for student use. Library staff will attempt to source paid copies of any material not currently within the library collection.

Use images, photos and illustrations with caution

All images, photos and illustrations are protected by copyright and should not be reproduced unless permission is given. There are various online services providing images licensed for reuse - look out for Creative Commons licences.  It is good practice to acknowledge the source of images you use in presentation slides, handouts and other teaching materials.

You may use copyright images for the purpose of student assessment but the images must be deleted once the assessment has been completed.

Showing Video Content

Using terrestrial TV and radio programmes

St Mary's has an Educational Recording Agency (ERA) licence, which permits the use (and copying of) broadcasts from terrestrial TV for educational purposes within the UK. We recommend that you use the Box of Broadcasts service for access to digitised TV and radio broadcasts.  Channels covered include:

  • BBC One, Two, Three, Four, News and Parliament
  • Channel 4
  • CNN
  • Dave
  • E4
  • Film4
  • FIVE
  • ITV, ITV1, 2, 3 and 4
  • More 4
  • SKY THREE, SKY News

The streaming services of these providers (eg BBC iplayer) are covered by the licence for the purpose of education within the UK. You may also make your own personal recordings from any of the services covered by ERA and use them in your teaching within the UK.

This licence does not give the permission to make material available to any students who are outside the UK.

Using streamed internet content (Eg Amazon Prime and Netflix)

Most streaming services are not covered by the ERA licence and they each have their own terms and conditions which you would need to check. It may be possible to show short extracts from streaming services under the educational exceptions to copyright but there is risk involved as you could be challenged by the rights owner, especially if it is streamed from a commercial service to which you have a personal subscription. To avoid risk contact the rights owner to seek permission

However, some content is available under a creative commons licence which can be shown without infringing copyright

When searching for material on You Tube it is possible to limit the search to material that has a Creative Commons (BY) licence which may be included in a recording. It is not advisable to record any other You Tube material without seeking permission.

NetFlix allows certain content to be shown in a lecture, but not recorded. For other content you would need to contact NetFlix to seek permission which may involve the purchase of a special licence.

Commercially purchased DVDs and CDs

Due to a specific educational exception in copyright law they may be shown during a learning event as long as the purpose of doing so is for education, not for entertainment. This exception applies to traditional recordings (Eg DVDs and CDs) it does not apply to streaming online content. In terms of copyright law this is a separate activity of “communication to the public by electronic means.” It is specifically restricted by copyright law.