Making friends with copyright: three things to remember for your learning and teaching

by | 26 Apr, 2017 | 0 comments

Copyright can be a murky, confusing area to wade into when it comes to learning and teaching. Here's a beginner's guide to understanding how to navigate it!

1. Provide links to material you want your students to see

It’s hard to go wrong with this one. If you’re looking for ways to provide your students with examples, simply linking to external sources is an easy way of getting around copyright requirements. Because you haven’t actually ‘copied’ anything, you don’t need to worry about creating full bibliographic references. For best practice, just include the name of the publisher or author, as well as the full URL. It’s also best to make sure that you don’t link to any sources that are obviously pirated.

2. Take note of the rules for your medium

So what happens if the material you want to use isn’t online? Maybe you’d like to include an artistic work in your PowerPoint, or you have a text you’re planning to distribute. The good news is, there are still plenty of allowances in copyright law for using these types of works for educational purposes. For example, you can copy and distribute up to 10% or one chapter of a book, whichever is greater. Take a look at this guide for more specific information about material you might like to use.

3. Technology changes faster than copyright laws can keep up with – so use your best judgement

Current copyright laws still contain references to CD Roms…when was the last time you saw or used one of those? It goes to show that while the Internet is making content more and more available all the time, legislation surrounding it is slow to catch up. As a member of the learning and teaching community, whether you’re academic or professional staff, it’s likely you already have a solid understanding of bibliographic referencing. So if you’re unsure of how to attribute something and you can’t find instructions – use your best judgement. Provide as many details on the author and source as you can find, and either a direct link or instructions on how to access the source.

This is of course, just the tip of the iceberg on copyright guidelines. If you’d like to learn more, why not come along to the Copyright for Online Resources session being run by the UTS Library in the learning.futures Academic Hub next Tuesday, 2 May? We’ll be there to answer all of your copyright-related questions, and hopefully teach you a few new things!

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