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Copyright for teaching staff

How copyright affects your teaching.

It's important to consider the copyright status of the items you use in your teaching, and of the resources you share with your students in places such as Moodle.

Copying materials and sharing them with your students is likely to infringe the rights of the copyright owner unless you:

  • Have the owner's permission
  • Use one of the UK copyright exceptions
  • Use one of the copyright licences held by the University

If you have any queries about copyright and teaching resources, please contact our Copyright, Licensing and Research Librarian (details at the bottom of the page), or the Academic Liaison Librarian for your subject area.

Adding resources to Moodle or reading lists

When can I upload a resource to Moodle?

You can upload a resource to Moodle provided that:

  • It is out of copyright. This means that the copyright has expired, or the creator has waived their copyright.
  • You or York St John University own the copyright.
  • The resource is covered by an open licence or a copyright exception.
  • You have permission from the rightsholder (please get permission in writing wherever possible).

Find out more about the Dos and Don'ts of using Moodle (PDF, 0.3 MB).

For further guidance about copyright ownership, please see our section on who owns copyright and how you can tell.

Can I make items on my reading list available electronically?

Reading lists can be created using our online reading list system. These can be used to link to ebooks and journal articles. Contact your Academic Liaison Librarian for further details about creating a reading list for your module.

Please do not upload PDFs directly into Moodle. Just because you have access to resources through our subscriptions, it does not mean that you can copy and distribute resources. This will usually contravene the terms of our licensing agreement with the publisher. It can also skew usage and engagement statistics with resources, which may lead to subscriptions being cancelled.

Can I scan book chapters and journal articles and upload them to my reading list?

The Library offers a service for scanning book chapters and journal articles. You can make a request through our Digital Scanning Service, and a secure link to the PDF is placed onto the module reading list once the scan has been completed. In order to comply with the terms of our CLA licence, all digital copies must be authorised and made by Library staff.

Can I photocopy a book chapter or article and share it with my students?

Yes, this is permitted under the terms of the CLA licence, so long as the item is covered by the licence. To check if the item is covered by the CLA licence, you can use the CLA Check Permissions search tool.

Under the terms of the CLA licence you can:

  • Photocopy 1 complete chapter, or up to 10% of a book (whichever is greater)
  • Photocopy 1 article per volume issue, or in a set conference proceeding
  • Photocopy 1 short story of poem (no more than 10 pages) from an anthology
  • Photocopy a full report from a single case from a published report or judicial proceedings.

Can I photocopy musical works?

Yes, this is permitted under the Higher Education Printed Music Licence (HEPML) as long as the type of musical work is covered by the licence, and the course or module contains a musical element. The license permits copies of published musical works to be made and digital copies to added to the VLE.*

What the HEPML covers:

  • Whole musical works can be copied in full
  • Up to 10% of individual pieces in an anthology (by number of items)
  • Up to 10% of a musical workbook (by number of pages)

* All copies of music (whether digital or physical) must be reported using the Higher Education Licence Data Form.

Sharing images and video

Can I use images and videos in my presentations and on my Moodle page?


Yes, but we advise that you use copyright cleared images or seek permission from the copyright holder. For sources of copyright cleared or free to copy images, please see our page on copyright resources. If you wish to use a copyright protected image, you may be able to do so if your use of the image falls under one of the UK copyright exceptions. For more information on this, please see our section on copyright exceptions.


Yes, but there are a few factors to consider, such as who created the videos and your reason for using the videos.

If you created a video, you own the copyright to it, so yes, you could use the video in your presentations and on your Moodle page. However, if you didn't create the videos, you may need to seek permission from the copyright owner, unless you could use one of the copyright exceptions. For more information on this, please see our section on copyright exceptions.

For example, copyright exception S32 (Illustration for instruction) would allow you to use videos in your presentations and on your Moodle page if you were using them for educational purposes within fair dealing limits. You can use videos that you find online, from websites such as YouTube, but embed videos in your presentation or Moodle page, or share a link to the content rather than downloading the videos.

Can I show a TV programme or film in a lecture and share it on Moodle?

TV Programmes

We hold an Educational Recording Agency (ERA) Licence, which allows staff to record and store television and radio programmes. Holding the ERA Licence allows us to subscribe to Box of Broadcasts (BoB). BoB allows members of the University to record broadcast programmes from over 60 television and radio channels. The recorded programmes can be kept in a personal archive and shared with users across all subscribing institutions. Recordings from BoB can be shown in lectures and can also be embedded into Moodle. Please remember that suitable acknowledgement is always required. Note that under the terms of the ERA license, BoB cannot be accessed overseas.

For material which is not covered by the ERA Licence, it may be possible to show programmes to students during lectures using a copyright exception . For further details, please contact our Copyright, Licensing and Research Librarian (details at the bottom of the page).


You can show a film during a lecture so long as you use one of the copyright exceptions or purchase a licence. Copyright exception S34 allows for the performance, playing or showing of a work for the purpose of instruction in an educational establishment. However, the audience members can only include staff, students or people connected to the University.

If you wish to show a film for any other reason, it is highly likely you will need a licence. While you may be able to show a film within a lecture for educational purposes, you are not permitted to upload the film to Moodle unless you have permission from the copyright owner.

Copyright and your own work

Who owns the copyright to my teaching materials?

We have an Intellectual Property Policy which states that the University owns the copyright of works produced by employees in the course of their employment. This includes teaching materials.

Can I use my own publications in Moodle?

If you are the author of an article, this does not necessarily mean that you are the copyright owner. Copyright is an intellectual property right that can be sold, assigned, or given away. You will need to check your publishing contract or terms of agreement to see if you own the copyright of the publication.

We have passed an Open Access policy. We encourage those who are getting published to sign a contract that allows their work to be released under a Creative Commons licence. This would allow you to self-archive your work in York St John's Institutional Repository RaY, and add a link to it in Moodle.

Copyright and the internet

Does copyright cover things which are available on the Internet?

Copyright exists for web-based materials in the same way as other published materials. The fact that something is publicly available to access does not mean that you can copy it and make it available elsewhere. The Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 gives the author of a work the exclusive right to 'communicate a work to the public', which includes making it available on a website.

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. If you need to make a permission request, identify the copyright holder. Usually the 'contact us' or webmaster of the site is the best person to contact.

Can I use and share links to websites?

Linking to websites and resources does not usually cause copyright issues. However, you should bear the following points in mind:

  • Deep links can cause problems as they can break over time when items are moved within the site.
  • The owner of a site may prefer you to link to their homepage as this may contain important information or terms and conditions.
  • If you use links, review them periodically to check that they still work.

Copyright, Licensing and Research Librarian

If you have any queries or require further guidance please contact Megan Kilvington, our Copyright, Licensing and Research Librarian.

Megan Kilvington
Copyright, Licensing and Research Librarian
Telephone: 01904 876 236