Whether you teach a seated (face-to-face) course or online, you may encounter several situations in which copyright violations could occur. Those situations can include, but are not limited to:
The manner in which these issues may be addressed differs greatly because copyright compliance issues that occur inside a classroom setting are difficult to track. Our Learning Management System, however, creates a digital footprint of every interaction between a faculty member and his/her students. The following scenarios will provide faculty and students with some valuable information for addressing and avoiding copyright in the classroom setting.
A student's inability to obtain a textbook can occur for a variety of reasons, and some of those are completely out of our students' control. When this occurs, it can have a severe impact on a students' ability to meet deadlines at the start of a term.
Here are our recommendations to protect yourself from accidentally violating copyright when your students are impacted by textbook delays:
These options provide students with temporary alternatives, and should only be used if/when the lack of access to the textbook is beyond the student's control. Examples could include unexpected closure of the university due to inclement weather, bookstore inventory issues, or natural disasters impacting Tiffin University and its ability to provide that service to its students. Lack of transportation, financial issues, severe illness, and other personal issues are not acceptable reasons to prolong the purchase of a textbook.
Textbook costs are always a consideration when we plan our courses, but occasionally we do encounter a student unable to purchase a textbook at the start of a semester. There are many external factors to explain why a student may not have access to a textbook when the course begins, but copying or digitizing material in order to delay the purchase of a textbook is a serious copyright infringement. Library licensing is also not a viable alternative, as OhioLINK restrictions prohibit the use of library lending for the purpose of bypassing a textbook purchase. There are other options available to help reduce the cost of a textbook purchase, and those include:
Films, Images, and Multimedia
The TEACH Act allows the use of film and multimedia in a classroom setting when such use is directly applicable to the learning objectives of the course. These materials may not be used for entertainment purposes whether inside a classroom or by student organizations outside of a structured classroom environment without seeking permission from the rights holder of the film. In order to remain compliant with copyright law, we recommend the following:
Handouts and Supplements
In the seated classroom environment, we recommend that you mark any copies of handouts distributed in-print as copyright-protected material. Limit the amount of text-based information that you copy, and look for suitable alternatives online to avoid digitizing large amounts of print material.
If you intend to upload material into the LMS or distribute reading via email, you should use the following precautions in order to limit the potential for copyright infringement:
Anything placed online can become a target for misuse, but there are some steps that faculty can take in order to make expectations for use clear. If you wish to put your own research, instructional materials, or other written and/or creative works online, here are our recommendations:
These recommendations may not completely protect your work from copyright infringement because the web is large, public, and completely unrestricted. Clear expectations allow you the ability to challenge use and misuse of your content with documented evidence that ownership exists and a violation has occurred. There are numerous articles online related to preventing web site theft. We recommend this article for additional resources and information: