Copyright laws also apply when posting movies, audio tracks, or other audiovisual media online for any type of course, be it face-to-face, fully online, broadcast, or a hybrid of these approaches. As with text, you need to obtain permission from the copyright owner before you post any audiovisual content online unless you can justify that your use of the media falls within the exceptions laid out by the Fair Use and TEACH Act clauses of copyright law.
To decide whether your use fits within these exceptions, you must consider the following:
The purpose and character of the use.
If your use of a given work is for nonprofit educational purposes, with access restricted to only your students, fair use is more likely to apply. However, this exception requires that the instructor and institution take reasonable measures to prevent media posted online from being downloaded.
The nature of the copyrighted work and the amount used
For multimedia, copyright law makes specific exceptions for showing the following in restricted-access educational settings:
The effect of the use on the potential market for the copyrighted work
Copyright law requires that you obtain permission to show multimedia produced specifically for educational markets. This includes content produced by textbook publishers or vendors of content for online education.
The Nature of the copy
You cannot display copies of multimedia that were not lawfully made. For example, if you have to bypass digital rights management restrictions on a DVD so that you can post a video clip online, you are violating copyright law.
Where the media was produced
Foreign-produced media, such as foreign films, are subject to the copyright protections of the country in which the media was produced.
The instructional legitimacy of the media
You must be able to show a clear instructional purpose for displaying the media in your course. Showing a movie that has no relevance to your instruction is not permitted in either an online or face-to-face class.
The American Library Association has produced an excellent outline of instructors' duties with regard to showing multimedia online.
If you decide that your use of a particular multimedia work does not fit within these exceptions, you need to request permission to use the work from the copyright owner. You may want to contact the university library for assistance in obtaining the license needed to show multimedia work in your class.
It is almost always permissible to link to a resource online. In fact, this is the access method specified in most of the library's licensing agreements for library databases and e-journals. While it is permissible to link directly to content in a library database or journal, saving pdf files into a course site within the course management system is often expressly prohibited. Within a database or e-journal, look for a “durable link” or “permanent link” within the record.