Digital Scholarship@Leiden

Applying copyright in times of online teaching Do you really need to display a whole movie?

Applying copyright in times of online teaching

Due to the coronavirus situation several measures have been taken. We are all working from home as much as possible. Teaching staff are busy to facilitate online classes and other digital learning materials for their students. How can teachers best apply copyright under the changed circumstances?

During a lecture in a class room a teacher will often use a (Powerpoint) presentation. This may include the use of externally imported materials that are copyright protected, such as photographs, images, schedules, graphs, etc. These materials may originate from the Internet or can be extracted from a book or journal. On top of this, links to online video channels, (such as YouTube) are used to direct students to film and video for further illustration and clarification.

Nearly all reuse of teaching materials that is allowed in a regular lecture can also be applied to online teaching and to the distribution of captured lectures; conditions are explained on a dedicated webpage and so are tips and tools for remote teaching. Captured lectures have for a long time been implemented on BlackBoard and BrightSpace for students who could not be present, and also for students with special needs who depend on online lectures.

Is there anything that is not allowed in captured online lectures that can be done in a class room based lecture? In short: the display of a whole movie. First of all, a whole movie can only be shown when this display is part of education; additionally, the film should be part of a teaching plan and/or serve an academic goal. Article 12.5 of Dutch Copyright Law offers an exception to the restriction on displaying a whole movie but only inside a class room or lecture room. Therefore, it does not allow for online use. If your teaching plan for the period to come involves the screening of a movie, do not hesitate to contact us via so that we can discuss the options that you have and if necessary look at alternatives.

Last but not least, teachers usually put educational materials such as PDF files on BlackBoard and BrightSpace. This use is covered by the Easy Access Agreement but costs may be involved. We are now expecting an increase in the use of BlackBoard and BrightSpace as part of the current move to online teaching and assessment. However, we would like to urge teachers to look for alternatives that are free of charge such as Open Access publications and online course reserves. As Leiden University Libraries are closed to students, there is no option for physical course reserves: course reserves are currently limited to digital materials only.

We realise that this new way of presenting your courses calls for support, which we are happy to offer.