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Copyright Resources

Blackboard Learn (Bb Learn)

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Guidelines for Faculty

Instructional material related to course curricula (lectures, articles, and other media) may be protected by copyright (find out more). When preparing your class, take a moment to consider the copyright status of your content before you post. 

Copyright protected material can be added to course management systems like Blackboard if any of the following conditions apply:

  • the material is owned by the faculty member (faculty is the copyright holder);
  • the copyright holder has granted permission for the material to be used in the course management system;
  • the material is in the public domain;
  • the material is available under a Creative Commons or other license which permits reuse;
  • the material is made available via linking rather than copying (posting);
  • or the use of the material fits within the scope of Fair Use.  

Other considerations:

  • Materials that are posted should be relevant to the course curriculum. 
  • If you are unsure if you can/should post material to your course, link to it. A link is not a copy, and therefore bypasses the issue of copyright infringement. Link to videos rather than embedding them in your course website (unless one of the conditions above applies). Many videos may contain infringing content because the uploader does not own the copyright.
  • Provide full attribution and copyright notices for all copyrighted material that you include in your course, regardless of format. 
  • Encourage students not to download or repost content from your course. 

With credit to Columbia University Copyright Advisory Office: Using Electronic Resources to Build Reading Lists


  • Secure permission from the copyright holder to post works. 
  • Link to materials, rather than posting the materials themselves. Use UMMS proxy links. 
  • Use content that is in the Public Domain. 

With credit to Indiana University Knowledgebase: Posting Copyrighted Materials Online. 

Helpful Resources


Preparing an Open Course? Read the Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for OpenCourseWare.

Code of Best Practice for OCW