lora lennertz photoLora Lennertz, Director for Academic and Research Services for the University of Arkansas Libraries, gave a presentation titled “Using Copyrighted Material in the Physical or Virtual Classroom.” Lennertz, who has 35 years of experience working with instructors to ensure they are complying with copyright law, discussed the dual nature of copyright law in higher education: it is there to ensure that users and instructors can use materials, build on the experience of others and their knowledge while also protecting the rights of content creators.

While she acknowledges that there are rarely hard and fast rules for copyright law and that there is a lot of room for interpretation, there are some general guidelines that we can follow to ensure that we are complying with copyright law in our online and Blackboard courses.

Some tips when considering using copyrighted content:

  • It is better to link directly to sites.  On Blackboard there is a way to directly link to the website, that is better than copying the content and putting a file in blackboard.
  • It is a good idea to create your own material for dissemination.
  • The library generally has content that you can link to or that they can obtain for you.  Contact your subject librarian for libguides.
  • Use creative commons images. You can select only free images in the advanced options in your browser search.
  • All government publications are free to use.
  • Double check to see if your readings are pre-1923 and in the public domain.
  • If you are linking to a video on line, be sure to link to an official page and not someone else who may be violating copyright law.
  • Read up on copyright and fair use.

If you have any questions, be sure to ask!  Contact the library for assistance with using copyrighted material or go to the library resource page for teaching online. You can also view the LibGuide for copyright law.

This content was developed from a presentation by Lora Lennertz which was sponsored by the The Wally Cordes Teaching and Faculty Support Center (TFSC) at the University of Arkansas.

The presentation can be downloaded and viewed as a PDF: Lora Lennertz – Navigating Copyright in the Classroom