Your Responsibility

You are required to record and aknowledge all copyright restricted resources used within any Moodle course you create by filling out a Copyright Declaration form. You will need to complete a seperate form for each Moodle course where you have included copyrighted materials. 

Completed forms must be sent to Trevor Hodgson, Library Manager, at the end of each semester.


Frequently Asked Questions Related To Copyright.

Do I need to get permission, before using text, tables or diagrams in Moodle?

In general, you will need to seek permission before including text, tables or diagrams, etc. in Moodle, unless:

  • the items are out of copyright.
  • you are the copyright holder.
  • University of Bolton is the copyright holder.
  • The items are explicitly licenced for such use.

Bear in mind that that you might not be the copyright holder of an article, even if you are the author, if you may have assigned rights to the publisher - it is important that you check your publishing contract or terms of agreement. If you upload any of your own unpublished material (such as lecture slides), please similarly take care to ensure that all images and multimedia are copyright free or used as permitted by the rights holder.

Can I make items on my reading list available electronically?

Reading lists can be created in Talis Aspire, containing links to full text journal articles or eBooks, as well as catalogue records for paper copies.

Please link to journal articles and eBooks via the provider, instead of uploading the content into Moodle. The fact that an item may be available to students from a provider's site, either openly or via a university subscription, does not mean that we have permission to download and distribute copies of that item in PDF (or other) format. For reliable linking, you can get a "permalink" (stable URL) from most providers.

Can I link to electronic resources available through the library?

Yes, this is a good way of directing your students to use electronic resources, journal articles or to a database for which the university has an existing subscription. Don't forget that some licence restrictions mean resources are only accessible on-campus. For further information relating to electronic resources please contact your subject librarian.

Do I need copyright clearance to use slides and video in Moodle?

Slides from your own lectures, for which you hold the copyright, can be easily incorporated into a Moodle course. However you will need copyright permission to use materials which belong to other individuals. Take care to ensure that all images and multimedia in presentations are copyright free or permitted by the rights holder. Also, please be aware that permission to use an item may not give you permission to adapt it, so you may have permission to use an image in its original form, but not if you crop it (check the licence terms).

It is possible to include digitised TV or radio excerpts which have been recorded under the Educational Recording Agency (ERA) Licence held by the Library. The Licence stipulates that an excerpt must not be edited and should be clearly identified with the programme title, date of recording and channel, together with a statement saying it was recorded under the terms of the ERA Licence. However, this material cannot currently be distributed beyond the University of Bolton campus.

Can I use materials I find on the internet for educational purposes?

Copyright exists for web-based materials in the same way as other published materials. You cannot cut and paste information into Moodle from another website without permission. If you wish to direct students to other web-based materials, you can link to other websites, but the website owner may request that you place a link to the home page of the site, rather than a 'deep' link further into the site.

Before downloading or copying any material from the web you should pay particular attention to any copyright statement, terms and conditions or licence attached to the site. Increasingly organisations are including this information prominently on their site and you should read and take note of any specific restrictions. For example, look at the ' Terms of Use ' for the BBC website, a link to which can be found at the very bottom of the home page.

Many educational websites will freely grant permission for teachers to use their material. You will first need to identify the copyright holder; the webmaster of the site is often the most useful first point of contact. You can address your permission request here in the first instance.

What about using images and resoures from other websites? Can I use anything downloaded?

If you wish to use an image from another website, you must make sure that you have permission from the copyright holder to do so. Increasingly, commercial website owners are including a watermark in an image to discourage illegal copying.

There are hassle-free ways to access copyright cleared or free to copy images. There are also several sources of free images or open educational resources available on the web. You can search for images under a Creative Commons licence (meaning that the user is happy for you to re-use the image under certain terms), in services such as Flickr . You can also carry out an Advanced Search on Google Images to locate images labelled for re-use (though you should always re-check the terms of use on the site supplying the image).

Freely-available resources go beyond just images. There is a growing movement to develop open educational resources. There are sources of high-quality teaching resources and images that are licenced for free re-use, or already copyright-cleared.

How does copyright apply to the electronic environment?

The Copyright, Design and Patents Act 1988 clearly defines the copying of a work and specifically includes electronic storage. Material on the Web is subject to the same restrictions as other material. Copying in relation to a literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work means reproducing the work in any material form. This includes storing the work in any medium by electronic means. In addition to this the Act was amended in 2003 to give the author exclusive right to "communicate a work to the public" which includes making material available on a website or network.

The majority of resources stored in electronic format (such as material on the Internet) will be subject to copyright restrictions, unless there is an explicit statement that says otherwise. Therefore they are the property of the copyright holder (who might be the creator, the publisher, employer, and so on). Even if there is no copyright statement on the material you are viewing, you must not assume that it is copyright-free. Key points to remember when using electronic material are:

  • Always check any copyright notices, or terms of use associated with any electronic resources you use.
  • Never assume that as you can easily access information, that it is freely available to reproduce.
  • Remember that distributing material in electronic format (such as by emailing it to colleagues or students, uploading it to Moodle or placing it on an Intranet) constitutes copying and is likely to infringe the rights of the copyright owner unless you have permission from the owner.
  • If in any doubt always ask permission from the copyright owner before you copy or distribute their work.

If I use material as part of an assessment do I still need copyright permission?

The Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 makes special provisions for examination purposes. For the purposes of setting, communicating or answering the questions in closed exams anything may be done with copyright materials (except for music) without permission. However, if you are using Moodle's assessment tools, such as Quizzes or Surveys and wish to include copyrighted material, permission from the copyright holder must be sought.

How long does it take to get copyright clearance and how do I get it?

The university holds a number of licences which allow copying and scanning for classroom use, however there are often instances when it will be necessary to obtain permission to use materials. The time taken to get copyright permission can vary depending on individual copyright holders, and obtaining permission for electronic materials can take longer as some publishers still feel cautious about this medium.

If you do not receive a reply to your permission request, you should not assume you can use the material. Never assume that when a rights holder does not respond it means they are happy for their work to be used.


The above information was adapted for use with kind permission from Dr Jane Secker, London School of Economics and Political Science and Katy Wrathall, York St. John University.