Copyright Online

Journal articles/Book chapters Linking ERA+ Licence
Images Websites Catch-up TV Services
Sound recordings
Off air recordings
Social Networking Sites Video (including YouTube) and uploading to uPlayer

This page contains guidance for those who need to create materials online including MOLE and contributions to the University's outward facing digital presence, including the main University web site, YouTube accounts, Sheffield iTunes U, and our FutureLearn MOOCs.

If you are planning to record materials using the MyEcho lecture recordimg service please consult the guidelines at

When using third party material online you must assume that permission is required to download and re-use an item unless:

  • The item is out of copyright
  • The individual using the material is the copyright holder
  • Your organisation is the copyright holder

Journal articles/Book chapters

No part of a journal article or book, paper or electronic, can be scanned and included on the Internet, including websites, University website, MOOC courses, YouTube or iTunesU, without first obtaining the permission from the copyright holder. This includes graphs, tables, diagrams, photographs and other images which may be part of a journal article. It may be possible to make links to journals to which the University of Sheffield has a subscription or link to the top level of a purchased ebook in the Library catalogue. You can request digitsed readings (Eoffprints) to include in MOLE or online reading lists via the Eoffprints Service
The Library provide an online reading list management service with stable links to all online material, including eoffprints, providing seamless access both on and off campus.


  • It is good practice to ensure that links to external sites open in new windows to avoid ‘passing off’ another site as your own
  • If you want to download material you will need to check the copyright statement on each website
  • You will need to request permission unless terms and conditions specifically allow downloading/multiple copying
  • If you want to make a link to a journal article remember that the Library signs a licence for each electronic product /resource to which we subscribe. Licences must be adhered to. For further information see Licence terms and conditions.
  • You must abide by the ejournal licence
  • Ensure you link to articles rather than saving local copies in MOLE or uSpace
  • You will need to use a stable or persistent URL to make a link e.g. in MOLE. The Library can provide advice on how to do this. For further information please contact Sharon Cocker, Learning Resources Manager ( extn. 27256


No image, paper or electronic, can be scanned and included in an online environment without first obtaining permission from the copyright holder. Images, including photographs, are easy to download from internet or to scan but they are subject to copyright and belong to the person who created them. You may be able to source some copyright free images from these sites:

Exlead Yahoo
picsearch vads
JISC MediaHub

Many sites e.g. Flickr, allow you to use images subject to a Creative Commons (CC) licence - all CC licences mean the copyright owner must be attributed and there may be other restrictions on its use. You can create your own images or you can try and obtain permission from the rightsholder. Perform a cross-site search which includes Google Images, Flickr and Wikimedia Commons from Creative Commons or look at Useful blogpost on 5 Great Sources of Creative Commons Images


Users have to abide by terms and conditions of use for commercial websites. For Government and Official Publications unrestricted copying of certain categories of material is permitted: most material on UK central government websites can be used for educational purposes without permission . Users can agree to this through an Open Government Licence. The National Archives Copyright and re-use statements may also be useful.

Sound recordings

Copyright in sounds, recordings or broadcasts lasts for 70 years after the broadcast. Commercially bought audio CD´s can be used in class, but should not be uploaded to an online environment. If using sound recordings from a website please check licence terms and conditions first.
You may be able to source some Copyright free sound and music from one of these sites:

cc mixter SoundCloud
British Library - Sounds freesound
Jamendo Blogpost on finding copyright safe material for video editing

Off air recordings

The University of Sheffield holds an ERA (Educational Recording Agency) Licence and recordings and copies of recordings made under this licence are to be used only for non-commercial educational purposes. Recordings may not be shown to fee paying audiences or non-registered students. They may be made on-site, at home by staff or by a designated third party on behalf of the establishment.

In addition to the ERA Licence the University of Sheffield must also adhere to the Open University licensed off-air recording scheme. CiCs are responsible for keeping a record of all OU programmes currently being used at the University of Sheffield and for administering the system to ensure the OU receive the correct annual fees due to them. More information, please email

ERA+ Licence

The University of Sheffield now holds an ERA (Educational Recording Agency) + Licence which enables licensed ERA recordings to be accessed by students and teachers online whether on campus or elsewhere in the UK. The ERA+ Licence also allows the University to subscribe to the Box of Broadcasts BoB service from BUFVC. This is an online streamed service which allows you to record TV and radio programmes scheduled over the next seven days as well as retrieving programmes from the last seven days. We also subscribe to the TRILT service from BUFVC which acts as an index to the material on Box of Broadcasts.

Catch-up TV Services

The BBC and Channel 4 have made changes to the terms and conditions applicable to some online services. These allow establishments holding a current ERA licence to record and access BBC content in relevant BBC online services for educational use under the terms of the ERA licence and apply non-commercial educational use within the scope of the ERA licence to access 4oD content on Channel 4 online services on conditions that would otherwise be limited to personal non-commercial use. Age of consent and viewer guidance terms continue to apply to any educational access.

Video (including YouTube) and uploading to uPlayer

It is important to realise that, whilst playing a television recording made under the above licensed schemes, or using a commercially produced video or CD, is permitted for educational purposes in a classroom, the same programme, film, video or CD cannot be made available in MOLE or on the open web (including websites, University website, MOOC courses, YouTube or iTunesU) without clearance from the copyright holders.

  • Commercially purchased DVDs should not be uploaded in an online environment unless you get permission from the copyright holder
  • The copyright in videos that you might show from sites such as YouTube, iTunes U or University of Sheffield uPlayer resides with the creator of the video, so again you would need to obtain permission directly from them (YouTube or iTunes U cannot grant this on their behalf). Some of these materials may be available for educational use or under a CC licence
  • Television programmes can be recorded off-air to show in class
  • You can use Box of Broadcasts to stream programmes, or clips from programmes in MOLE, as well as showing material in class
  • When including pictures, sounds and video clips in an online environment it should be remembered that each file will have its own copyright and sometimes more than one copyright
  • Useful blogpost about Copysafe media creation

Social Networking Sites

  • There is increased use of Social Networking sites by staff and students e.g. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr etc.. Please consider the following points with regard to copyright:
  • When you upload to a social network you do not lose copyright in your own content but you may be agreeing to licence your content to the network by signing up so that they can use it in certain ways set out in their terms and conditions
  • You must not upload anything in which you do not own the content or without permission from the rightsholder
  • Check the terms and conditions of any social network you sign up to carefully
  • Be aware of what personal information you are making available online
  • Think carefully about contributions to social networking sites, as most of this information is publicly available, unless you change your privacy settings
  • Avoid inappropriate language and jokes and be wary of making anything available which could be considered defamatory
  • Further advice on copyright in Web 2.0 applications

For basic copyright guidance check out the Copyright Guide