Office of the General Counsel

Material Performed or Displayed in Class without Copyright Holder Permission

Face-To-Face Instruction or Secure Classroom Transmissions

Your first step is to determine whether media you wish to utilize is in the public domain. Not all content is protected by copyright. Works in the public domain can be used for any purpose, and primarily include the following:

  • Most works created by the federal government.
  • Most works published before 1923.
  • Facts, ideas, formulas (not otherwise protected as trade secrets).

As a general rule, however, most content is protected, particularly media and most images. Unless the content is "open access" material (content created expressly for unrestricted worldwide use), or is quite old, assume the content is protected by copyright. Keep in mind, the absence of either actual copyright registration or the omission of a © symbol does not mean the material is not protected by copyright law. The Copyright Act requires neither notice nor actual registration to be entitled to protection. Registration only entitles the copyright holder to statutory fines and penalties from prospective infringers rather than a showing of actual damages for non-registered works.

Copyrighted Media

If protected/copyrighted, then the following rules apply to use of audio, images, or audio visual works for use in the classroom or for transmission over secure systems (these guidelines do not apply to media to be utilized for course packs, or publication on personal websites):

A. A copyrighted item may be performed or displayed in class without copyright holder permission under the following conditions:

1. Media is to be displayed or performed by, or under supervision of, UNCW faculty or adjunct.

2. Used only for a class that is part of UNCW's regularly constituted course offerings.

3. Displayed or performed only in the classroom and only for students enrolled in the class.

4. Directly relevant to content of the course - not entertainment or personal research.

5. Copyright notice will appear or students informed work may be copyright protected.

6. No laws broken in the making or acquisition of the work.

7. The above rules are effective only if the work is not a program recorded off television.

Note: If all the previous conditions apply, short segments of the work can be manipulated for the purpose of study and criticism, as long as students are clearly told what has been altered.

B. A UNCW faculty member or adjunct professor may link to copyrighted media that is already on the Internet under the following conditions:

1. Link provided only to students enrolled in the class.

2. Class must be part of UNCW's regularly constituted course offerings.

3. Link will only be transmitted through a secure, password-protected system like Blackboard.

4. Media on the site directly relevant to course content - not entertainment or personal research.

5. Copyright notice appears on the site or students informed work may be copyright protected.

6. Media on the site has been legally made and acquired.

7. Site does not require users to enter a user name and password.

8. Site does not restrict linking (e.g. "Terms of Use" section).

C. A UNCW faculty member or adjunct professor may transmit a copyrighted audiovisual online without copyright holder permission under the following conditions:

1. Transmitted only to students enrolled in the class.

2. Used only for a class that is part of UNCW's regularly constituted course offerings.

3. Transmitted only over a secure, password-protected system such as Blackboard - neither on a personal website nor through a non-UNCW email account.

4. Directly relevant to content of the course -not for entertainment or personal research.

5. Copyright notice will appear or students informed work may be copyright protected.

6. No laws were broken in the making or acquisition of the work.

7. Not produced or marketed primarily for use in the online distance education market.

8. Technology will be used to reasonably limit the students' ability to retain or further distribute it.

9. Only "reasonable and limited" amount of media will be utilized for transmission.

10. Only the portion that will be transmitted will be copied/reproduced.

11. No copies will be made other than what is needed for transmission. If the audiovisual is a program recorded off broadcast television, the following conditions must also be met:

  • It will only be shown during the 10 school days following its broadcast and it will be shown no more than twice in each class.
  • It will be shown only in one semester.
  • The recording must include the copyright notice from the original broadcast.
  • It will not be electronically altered or combined into anthologies or compilations. In other words, it will not be edited or manipulated.
  • Only enough copies made to meet legitimate instructional needs.
  • Within 45 calendar days of the broadcast, the recording will be purchased or licensed or the copy will be erased.

If these rules are too restrictive - or if the program was recorded off cable (fee-based) television, separate rules apply. Special permission is required from the fee-based channels e.g. HBO.

If the audiovisual is in an analog format, it can only be digitized if:

  1. Good faith effort has been made to find a digital version but one was not located; or

2. Technological protections on the digital version prevent copying.

D. A UNCW faculty member or adjunct professor may transmit copyrighted audio online without copyright holder permission under the following conditions:

1. Transmitted only to students enrolled in the class.

2. Used only for a class that is part of UNCW's regularly constituted course offerings.

3. Transmitted only over a secure, password-protected system like Blackboard - not personal website or non-UNCW email account.

4. Directly relevant to content of the course - not for entertainment or personal research.

5. Copyright notice will appear or students informed that the work may be copyright protected.

6. No laws were broken in the making or acquisition of the work.

7. Not produced or marketed primarily for use in the online distance education market.

8. Technology will be used to reasonably limit the students' ability to retain or further distribute the audio (Downstream controls).

9. Only the part that will be transmitted will be copied.

10. No copies will be made other than what is needed for transmission.

  • If the audio is "dramatic", e.g. play, opera, musicals, use only "reasonable and limited" amount.
  • If the audio is "non-dramatic," such as music, news, or a speech, then the entire work may be transmitted.

If the audio is in analog format, it can only be digitized if:

  • a good faith effort has been made to find a digital version but none was found; or
  • technological protections on the digital version prevent copying.

E. A UNCW faculty member or adjunct professor may transmit a copyrighted image online without copyright holder permission under the following conditions:

1. Transmitted only to students enrolled in the class.

2. Used only for a class that is part of UNCW's regular course offerings.

3. Transmitted only over a secure, password-protected system like Blackboard - not on a personal website and not through a non-UNCW email account.

4. Directly relevant to content of course - not for entertainment or personal research.

5. Copyright notice will appear or students informed work may be copyright protected.

6. No laws were broken in the making or acquisition of the work.

7. Work not produced or marketed primarily for online distance education market.

8. Technology will be used to reasonably limit students' ability to retain or distribute the image.

9. No copies will be made other than what is needed for transmission.

Because the absence of applicable case law makes it unclear how much material is permissibly transmitted online, recommend the following options:

  • Link to the image on an existing site instead of transmitting it online yourself. You can link to any web page that is available on the internet as long as it doesn't require the entry of a user name and password and it doesn't explicitly prohibit linking (i.e."Term of Use" section).
  • Check with UNCW Randall Library to see if a licensed copy or substitute image can be located or if they can help you secure permission to use the image.
  • Resize the image to a "thumbnail" size.
  • Only transmit amounts consistent with what would be displayed in a

normal classroom session.

If the image is in analog format, it can only be digitized under the following conditions:

  • a good faith effort has been made to find a digital version but one could not be found: or
  • technological protections on the digital version prevent copying.