Boston College’s Learning Management Systems (LMSs), Blackboard Vista and Canvas, provide a password protected environment, so the same "Fair Use" guidelines which apply to disseminating material in a class setting apply to posting material in an LMS. BC's policy concerning copyright issues is in accordance with U.S. Copyright Law as applied in the Agreement On Guidelines For Classroom Copying In Not-For-Profit Educational Institutions With Respect To Books And Periodicals, stated under the instructions on course reserves.
Use of copyrighted material on an academic website such as an LMS course is not particularly clear cut. However, there are some helpful guidelines available:
- All copyrighted materials, such as exercises, case studies, articles, etc., are acceptable to post on the website as long as either the department or the institution have purchased a licensed copy of the copyrighted material. For example, if an article can be found on Lexis-Nexis, you can make that article available on a course site since the library has purchased a license to Lexis-Nexis. You may not post copyrighted material that is a part of your personal collection. If you are using a resource that hasn't been acquired using university or department funds, make sure your department owns a copy or contact your subject specialist in the Library to make sure the university has or can obtain one.
- Treatment of material should conform to the "Fair Use" standards established by law to allow and govern the reproduction of works for special purposes such as teaching. In practice, this means:
- Files with video clips and links to streaming video must be placed in a password-protected site, such as your LMS.
- Typically, a clip can be no longer than 10% of the entire program. If the "teachable moment" exceeds 10% of the video or if you wish to stream a program in its entirety, the university will need to obtain a digital license. Not all publishers make their programs available this way. If you have a question regarding how to obtain a digital license, please contact Kelly Webster at 617-552-0164.
- A reference crediting the source should be visible on the website, with a warning against inappropriate use of the material.
There is a wealth of information available regarding copyright and academic institutions. Below are a number of useful links:
- The Boston College Library has numerous resources on copyright, found here.
- If you are not sure if your material can be posted on the website, use the following two pdf checklists compiled by the NC State Libraries to see if your material complies with copyright law: Basic Checklist and Expanded Checklist.
- If you have further questions regarding the use of copyrighted material for an academic website, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Shorter items placed on reserve are generally scanned and placed on e-reserve (or linked there directly, if available electronically). E-reserves are accessed through "Course Reserves" in Quest, which can be linked to the LMS course for convenience. Further questions about copyright, length of readings and best time-frames for processing material through e-reserves should be directed to the reserves desk.