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.
If you have any questions after reading through this content, please contact Scottie Kapel, Scholarly Communication Librarian, at email@example.com.
(This document is evolving and subject to change. Last updated March 13, 2020.)
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. 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.
In-lecture use of audio or video
Here, the differences between online and in-person teaching can be a bit more complex. Playing audio or video off of physical media during an in-person class session is 100% legal at Western Carolina University under a provision of copyright law called the "Classroom Use Exemption". However, that exemption doesn't cover playing the same media online. If you can limit audio and video use for your course to relatively brief clips, you may be able to include those in lecture recordings or live-casts under the copyright provision called fair use. For media use longer than brief clips, you may need to have students independently access the content outside of your lecture videos. Some further options are outlined below.
Where to post your videos
Using 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. The Coulter Faculty Commons is prepared to assist faculty throughout this process.
Hopefully, by mid-semester, your students have already gotten access to all assigned reading materials. As always, you can contact your liaison librarian (directory linked below) if you need help locating electronic copies of articles or books.
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 publicly available online content like news websites, existing online videos, etc is rarely a copyright issue. (Better not to link to existing content that looks obviously infringing itself - Joe Schmoe's YouTube video of the entire Black Panther movie is probably not a good thing to link to. But Sara Someone's 2-minute video of herself and her best friend talking over a few of the pivotal scenes may be fair use, and is not something you should worry about linking to.)
Linking to subscription content through the library 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 your liaison librarian.
Making copies of new materials for students (by downloading and uploading files, or by scanning from physical documents) can present some copyright issues, but they're not different from those involved in deciding whether to share something online with your students when you are meeting in-person. It's better not to make copies of entire works - but most instructors don't do that! Copying portions of works to share with students will often be fair use, and at times (especially in unusual circumstances, or with works that aren’t otherwise commercially available) it may even be fair use to make lengthier copies.
Where an instructor doesn't feel comfortable relying on fair use, the liaison librarian may be able to suggest alternative content that is already online through library subscriptions or publicly available. Contact your library liaison or Scottie Kapel, Scholarly Communication Librarian, if you have any questions about sharing copies with your students.
Showing an entire movie or film or musical work online may be a bit more of an issue than playing it in class - but there may be options for your students to access it independently online. Hunter Library already has quite a bit of licensed streaming video content, which you are welcome to use in your online course (see link below). We may be able to license streaming access for additional media, if available through our streaming vendors. Please contact your liaison if you have questions about specific titles.