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W&M Libraries Resources to Support Teaching & Learning During the COVID-19 Outbreak

Copyright When Rapidly Shifting a Course Online

Rapidly shifting your course from in-person to online

There are a lot of pedagogical and technical issues that make the shift from in-person to online teaching challenging, but for once, copyright is not a big additional area of worry! Most of the legal issues are the same in both contexts. If it was okay to do in class, it is often okay to do online, especially when your online access is limited to the same enrolled students.

Recording video of yourself, live-casting lectures, etc.

Slide Images

If it was legal to show slide images in class, it is likely legal to show them to students via live video conferencing or in recorded videos.  This may be a surprise if you have heard that there is a big difference between class lecture slides and online conference slides - but the issue is usually less offline versus online, than a restricted versus an unrestricted audience. As long as your new course video is being shared through course websites limited to the same enrolled students, the legal issues are fairly similar.

Many instructors routinely post a copy of their slides as a file for students to access after in-person course meetings, which also likely doesn't present any new issues after online course meetings.

Where to post your videos

There may be some practical differences in outcomes depending on where you post new course videos - on the University's Panopto platform it is easy to control access at the level of individual videos, and to connect to your course in Blackboard. You also can post video to YouTube via your W&M Google account. This can be useful as YouTube has some elementary captioning.

Course readings and other resources

Hopefully, by mid-semester, your students have already gotten access to all assigned reading materials. As always, the Libraries' Course Reserves team can help with getting things online - linking to Libraries subscription resources, finding ebooks where available, and much more.

If you want to share additional materials with students yourself as you revise instructional plans,or if you want students to share more resources with each other in an online discussion board, keep in mind some simple guidelines:

It's always easiest to link!

Linking to subscription content through the Libraries is also a great option - a lot of our subscription content will have DOIs, PURLs, or other "permalink" options, all of which should work even for off-campus users. For assistance linking to any particular libraries subscription content, contact the Research Department.

Sharing copies

Classes are online, and so are we! Faculty who need access to books, articles, and films for their students can request them through the Course Reserves form. We will buy electronic licenses when possible, and can put materials into Blackboard. Because of high demand, we are limiting this service to course materials and cannot offer it to individual students.  If you need research related materials, please use InterLibrary Loan. Thank you for your understanding!


Multimedia viewing/listening

 The Libraries already have quite a bit of licensed streaming video content, which you are welcome to use in your online course. The Libraries also already have subscriptions to a significant set of streaming audio options for W&M users.

We may be able to purchase streaming access for additional media. You can request additional streaming media through our Course Reserves system, and we will do our best to purchase or trial it.

Ownership of online course materials

Content created by William & Mary employees amd students is governed by the Intellectual Property Policy. William & Mary assigns most copyrights to faculty, staff, and student creators as defined by the policy. This includes instructional content. 

More Questions? Need help?

Contact for further information or assistance.

Creative Commons LicenseThis page was adapted from the University of Minnesota University Libraries. Unless otherwise noted, all content on the Copyright Information section of this site is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License.  Content about our Course Reserves system and digitization options were not part of the UM guide and reflect W&M Libraries' practices in March 2020.
This web site presents information about copyright law. William & Mary Libraries make every effort to assure the accuracy of this information but do not offer it as counsel or legal advice. Consult an attorney for advice concerning your specific situation.