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Copyright Basics: Brightspace and Copyright

This guide helps you sort through the tangled web of Copyright!

Fair Use & TEACH Act with Blackboard

Both Fair Use and the TEACH Act can be invoked to legally use copyrighted material in Brightspace courses.

How can I use copyrighted materials in Brightspace courseware

Guidelines for E-Reserves on Blackboard

Guidelines for Brightspace Course Reserves (Electronic Reserves) are based on the principle that the fair use provisions of the 17 USCS section 107 permit the making of copies of copyrighted material for classroom use as long as the four determining fair use factors are considered. In addition, access to Electronic Course Library Reserves is restricted to access only by students and faculty of that particular class.


Using Videos

If the above circumstances and requirements are met:

a. Can I show part or all of a copyrighted movie?

  • Using my own copy?
  • Using the library’s copy?
  • Using a copy I rented from a store?
  • Using a copy I taped from TV?

Can I digitize a VHS movie?

Can I make a DVD of all the clips I use and distribute it to the class?

In order to fit within the 110(2) provision, you can use a “reasonable” portion of a movie or a piece of music. (Note: this differs from the face-to-face classroom where you may play the entire work.) The currently acceptable “downstream” control is to use streaming technology. The copy you excerpt from must be lawfully made and not specifically designed and marketed for online courses. For a discussion of whose copy you may use, see Part I, question 4b.

Under 110(2), you may digitize the reasonable portions you intend to use from a VHS or other non-digital format, as long as there is no digital version available to the institution or the available digital version is encrypted.

Section 110(2) would not permit you to make a DVD of your online clips to provide your students with their personal copy because you cannot control the uses made after the class session. You should consider whether this would be permitted as a fair use.

What is allowed?

Posting an item to Brightspace does not exempt an instructor from copyright regulations. Here is a chart with some general guidelines of what is OK to post.

(Please note that these are suggested guidelines based on one interpretation of the U.S. Copyright Law. If in doubt, it is always advisable to err on the side of caution and complete a fair use evaluation.)




Not allowed

Web site containing copyrighted material

Link to the web site via Brightspace

Copying and pasting the information into Brightspace

Copyrighted web image

Must be educational in nature; display in Brightspace for one semester

Repeated use over multiple semesters

Article from a library database

Direct linking to article allowed

Copying and pasting the article into Brightspace

Scanned copyrighted image

Must be educational in nature; display in Brightspace for one semester

Repeated use over multiple semesters

Scanned chapter from a book

5% of the total work if in-print, 10% of the
total work if out-of-print--allowed for only one semester

More than the allotted percents or repeated use over multiple semesters

Scanned article from a journal, trade publication, or magazine

A single article for one semester

Multiple articles from the same publication or repeated use over multiple semesters

Audio files

No more than 30 seconds without permission

Repeated use over multiple semesters

Video files

10% or three minutes, whichever is less

Repeated use over multiple semesters


Subject Guide