Currently viewing the tag: "Publishing"

'Type' by Victoria Pickering is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

When it comes to publishing online – on NILE, MyPad or other websites – copyright legislation is an important consideration that can too often be overlooked.

Arbitrarily using text, images, audio or video from other websites in your work runs risk. It’s not great to use NILE’s password protection, or ‘it’s for educational use’ as legitimate excuses.

So to help you produce trouble-free online content we’ve put together a quick guide to what you can and cannot do, and good places to find great resources.


Copyright Basics

To help ease you into this complex world, the Copyright Hub has an interactive guide with a vast wealth of resources.

It’s worth remembering Copyright sits alongside Trademarks and Patents and Designs and is overseen by the Intellectual Property Office (IPO).

This is not to be confused with Data Protection and Freedom of Information which fall under the remit of the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO)

Copyright exists to protect work and permit its owner to dictate how, where and when this is used. It doesn’t always prevent republishing, but will dictate the terms of use.


Creative Commons

A common way to find and use material online, legally and for free, is by using Creative Commons content. Where applied, a copyright owner will permit the use of their work in the following ways:

  • attribution only, with no further restrictions,
  • no commercial uses of the work,
  • no derivatives (adaptations) can made of it.

You may have already considered using this when posting your own copyright material on the web.



Information which is freely available on the internet isn’t necessarily free to copy. Websites are protected by copyright and some sites may also be considered as databases and be protected by database right.

The material published on a website is protected by copyright in the same way as print material. Most will have a copyright declaration or specify how material from the site may be used. Although if missing, it’s best to assume the usual restrictions apply and only use a small amount for private, non-commercial purposes.

If the information on the website is not easy to access – it’s password protected for instance – then this implies the owner is protecting their work and does not want it to be copied or distributed freely; even if there is no charge for using the site.

Not all the information on the internet has been posted legally, so be careful to check the source of the information where it is possible, and use your own judgement where it is not.



When looking for images it’s tempting to use anything that’s readily available! Jisc’s interactive guide gives you a safer approach.

It’s better to use a search engine that displays only Creative Commons licensed images, or those that have been made available rights free.

If you use Google Images, narrow the usage rights with an advance search. For further advice read Jisc Digital Media – Copyright of still images.


TV, Radio & Sounds

There’s a wealth of videos on sites such as YouTube which you may wish to use in your teaching. Although be mindful it’s not legal to download a video to upload it to your NILE site, or redistribute it in any way. However, it is legal and straightforward to add a link or embed the video in NILE.

The Educational Recording Agency (ERA) licence permits staff to copy, access and use broadcast output for non-commercial educational purposes. This means all scheduled free-to-air radio and television broadcasts may be recorded for the purposes of making ERA Recordings.

To save you the trouble of having to record programmes yourself, as well as providing guidance, the British Universities Film and Video Council also runs the Box Of Broadcasts (BOB) service, to which the University subscribes.

This makes available programmes from over 60 UK channels dating back to 2007 and can to be used in your teaching. What’s more, clips can easily be embedded into NILE.

For further advice read Jisc Digital Media – AudioVisual copyright


Books, Journals and Newspapers

All the electronic resources provided through NELSON are covered by licences. Most e-journal and e-book suppliers prefer their material to be deep-linked within NILE. Guidance on this is available in the downloads section of the Library webpage on the staff portal.

The same licences allow users to make single copies for educational purposes, so you could refer students to a reference or deep-link in these cases. Be suspicious if you find online copies of books or journals you would normally expect to pay for. They could easily be illegal copies.

The University’s CLA licence also allows digital scanned copies of both book chapters and journal articles to be placed into NILE legally (whether we own them already or not). Contact the Digitisation Team for help.


Open Educational Resources

Many institutions from around the world have made available Open Educational Resources (OERs). These are teaching materials including lesson plans, documents and media available for reuse.

It can be time consuming to adapt and localise materials created in other countries, so we recommend you use UK repositories in the first instance, where possible.

To sample websites that offer complete free open courses, have a browse around MIT OpenCourseWare and Saylor courses as examples.

Open Textbooks are available from BCCampus in Canada and a good selection of links are listed on Open Access Textbooks. These are free, open, reusable textbooks in HE and FE.

OMICS provides a list of open access journals in different languages and subjects. The OER Knowledge Cloud also offers many research reports and articles about OER.


And finally – did you know?

  • Copyright does not need to be registered and subsists automatically from the moment an original work is created.
  • Owning a piece of work, and owning the copyright of that work, are not the same thing.
  • Commissioning work by a third-party doesn’t grant you copyright ownership – unless it’s stated in the contractual terms.

There were significant changes to copyright in 2014. Here are some links to explain further.

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