Use of Content: In Classroom or a Blackboard Teaching Environment

The first step is to determine whether media you wish to utilize is in the public domain. Not all content is protected by copyright.  Works in the public domain can be used for any purpose, and primarily include the following:  i) most works created by the federal government; ii) most works published before 1923; and iii) facts, ideas, formulas (not otherwise protected as trade secrets).  As a general rule, most content is protected, particularly media and still images.  Unless the content is “open access” material (content created expressly for unrestricted worldwide use i.e. covered by a Creative Commons (CC) license), or is quite old, you are better off assuming the content is copyright protected.  Keep in mind, the absence of either actual copyright registration or the omission of a © symbol does not mean the material is not protected by copyright law. The Copyright Act no longer requires either notice or actual registration for the content to be entitled to protection.  Registration, while a condition precedent to a rights holder’s pursuit of statutory fines and penalties from possible infringers is not a requirement for the copyright holder’s enjoyment of the exclusive rights (copy, modify, distribute, display, and/or perform original Work).

Copyrighted Media

Critical questions that must always be answered for any question on the use of content in an educational setting are: what type of content do you wish to use?  (i.e. music, film, YouTube streaming, images)  How much of the subject content do you need to use? (small portion versus its entirety) And last, what is the setting for the use of the subject content? - i.e. face-to-face classroom or broadcast transmission? To simplify the analysis for the purpose of this document, I have assumed we are either in a Face-To-Face classroom setting or in a Blackboard type of environment for online or distance education instruction.  If you are not in either of those environments, these rules DO NOT APPLY.

Accordingly, if the content is protected/copyrighted, then the following rules apply to make use of audio, images, or audio visual works for use in the classroom or for transmission over secure systems (these guidelines do not apply to media to be utilized for course packs, or publication on personal websites):

I WANT TO USE MEDIA, IMAGES, PROSE, JOURNAL ARTICLES, ETC., (ANY CONTENT) IN MY CLASS – HOW DO I DETERMINE IF I CAN USE THIS CONTENT?

SETTING REQUIREMENTS: FACE-TO-FACE (F2F) CLASSROOM

A copyrighted item may be performed or displayed in class without copyright holder permission under the following conditions:

1. Media is to be displayed or performed by, or under supervision of, UNCW faculty or adjunct.

2. Used only for a class that is part of UNCW’s regularly constituted course offerings.

3. Directly relevant to content of the course – not entertainment or personal research.

4. Copyright notice will appear or students informed work may be copyright protected.

5. No laws broken in the making or acquisition of the work.

6. The above rules are effective only if the work is not a program recorded off television.

Note: If all the previous conditions apply, short segments of the work can be manipulated for the purpose of study and criticism, as long as students are clearly told what has been altered.

I WANT TO USE AUDIO/VISUAL OR AUDIO (MUSIC) CONTENT IN MY BLACKBOARD COURSE, HOW DO I KNOW IF I CAN USE THE CONTENT I WANT?

SETTING REQUIREMENTS: ASSUMES SETTING IS A DISTANCE ED, ONLINE, OR WEB ENHANCED TRANSMITTED COURSE IN BLACKBOARD OR BLACKBOARD TYPE ENVIRONMENT

A UNCW faculty member or adjunct professor may transmit a copyrighted audiovisual online without copyright holder permission under the following conditions:

1. Transmitted only to students enrolled in the class.

2. Used only for a class that is part of UNCW’s regularly constituted course offerings.

3. Content is directly relevant to content of the course –not for entertainment or personal research.

4. Copyright notice will appear or students informed work may be copyright protected.

5. No laws were broken in the making or acquisition of the work.

6. Not produced or marketed primarily for use in the online distance education market.

7. Only “reasonable and limited” amount of subject content will be reproduced and utilized for transmission.

8. No copies will be made other than what is needed for transmission.

 If the audio is in analog format, it can only be digitized if:

If the audiovisual is a program recorded off broadcast television, the following conditions must also be met:

If the program was recorded off cable (fee-based) television, separate rules apply.  Special permission is required from the fee-based channels e.g. HBO.

I WANT TO USE PHOTOS IN MY BLACKBOARD COURSE, HOW DO I KNOW IF IT’S OKAY TO USE THEM?

SETTING REQUIREMENTS: DISTANCE ED, ONLINE, WEB ENHANCED , BROADCAST COURSEWARE IN A BLACKBOARD OR BLACKBOARD TYPE ENVIRONMENT.

A UNCW faculty member or adjunct professor may transmit a copyrighted image online without copyright holder permission under the following conditions:

1. Transmitted only to students enrolled in the class.

2. Used only for a class that is part of UNCW’s regular course offerings.

3. Directly relevant to content of course – not for entertainment or personal research.

4. Copyright notice will appear or students informed work may be copyright protected.

5. No laws were broken in the making or acquisition of the work.

6. Work not produced or marketed primarily for online distance education market.

8. No copies will be made other than what is needed for transmission.

Because the absence of applicable case law makes it unclear how much material is permissibly transmitted online, recommend the following options:

If the image is in analog format, it can only be digitized under the following conditions:

Robert R. Hoon, UNCW Office of General Counsel

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