We created this guide to help you understand and navigate some of the complexities of copyright, especially as it pertains to coursework and education.
However, copyright and intellectual property is an extremely complex area of law, and the information in this guide does not constitute legal advice. If you require legal advice, please contact a licensed attorney in the area of intellectual property law.
As you rapidly shift your course from in-person to online, most of the legal issues are the same in both contexts. If it was okay to do in class, it is often okay to do online, especially when your online access is limited to the same enrolled students.
Librarians can give advice but are not lawyers
If you stick with tried-and-true copyright practices in your online course, you can avoid extra work in the future.
You can share open educational resources (or works in the public domain).
You can link out to freely available online resources that aren’t openly licensed.
You likely have a good fair use argument for sharing all-rights-reserved materials with students online in a restricted setting - for example, in your learning management system which is behind a password. More info: Public Statement of Library Copyright Specialists: Fair Use & Emergency Remote Teaching & Research
You can give your students a persistent, proxied link to resources in the libraries’ databases - ask a librarian if you need help.
Open licenses are added by the copyright holder and give permission in advance for the kinds of use that we need for teaching and learning: to download and save a local copy, make revisions, and share widely, without violating copyright.
Open educational resources are available for free online or in print at low cost.
Open educational resources can be made fully accessible. More info in IUP's Overview of Accessibility and Usability and from Disability Services and Advising.
If you redesign your course now with openly licensed materials (or content in the public domain) you will not need to re-re-design later. More sustainable!
Copyright in a Crisis Guidelines is adapted from Open Oregon Educational Resources and licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.