Copyright for Teaching

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

This page contains guidance for those who need to create materials for teaching in the classroom or online via a VLE e.g. MOLE. If you are planning to record teaching materials using the MyEcho lecture recordimg service please consult the guidelines at

Fair dealing for illustration for instruction

Limited amounts of material can be reproduced for assessment and to illustrate a point for the purposes of instruction, subject to fair dealing.
Only use as much material as is needed to make the point. The use must be for non-commercial use. You must attribute the source of the material. Copying must be carried out by a person giving or receiving the instruction.
This is covered by Section 32 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 as “fair dealing for illustration for instruction”.  Please do check with if you are unsure.

Journal articles/Book chapters

The Library provides an online reading list management service with stable links to all online material, including Eoffprints, providing seamless access both on and off campus.You can request digitised readings (Eoffprints) to include in MOLE or online reading lists via the Eoffprints Service. It may be possible to make stable (persistent) links to ejournal articles or ebooks to which the University of Sheffield has a subscription. It is good practice to ensure that links to external sites open in a new window, to avoid ‘passing off’ another site as your own. Ensure you link to articles rather than saving them and downloading local pdf copies in the VLE. The Library can provide advice on how to do this. For further information please contact Sharon Cocker, Learning Resources Manager ( extn. 27256


If you are using an image to illustrate a point in your lecture slides you can do so under s.32 fair dealing for illustration for instruction. However, it may still be wise to use images with a creative commons licence which allows re-use. 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 use the Creative Commons image search and refine the search for something you can:

  • Modify, adapt and build upon
  • Use for a commercial purpose

You may also be able to source some copyright free images from these sites:

Exlead Yahoo
picsearch vads
JISC MediaHub

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 Creative Commons search for legal music or one of these sites:

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

Off air recordings and 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. 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

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 or 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. Try Creative Commons search for legal music for videos. Be careful not to adapt anything with a ‘Non-Derivatives’ licence.
  • 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