Answered By: Rebecca Mackle
Last Updated: Feb 03, 2016     Views: 28

The recent (June 2014) changes to copyright law have broadened the permissions regarding what can be used for educational purposes. Fair dealing copying for 'purposes of illustration' has been introduced.

This means that:

  • you can now use third-party images in your teaching materials provided the amounts used are ‘fair’
  • copying must be to illustrate a teaching point (i.e. not just for decoration)
  • lower resolution images or portions of a high resolution image are more likely to be deemed ‘fair’. It would be unlikely to be deemed ‘fair dealing’ to use the whole of a high-resolution image for this purpose.
  • you can use images from a website under the new exception, but it would be good practice to check the terms of any licence that may exist. Any requirement for payment, for example, would imply that usage would not be ‘fair dealing’
  • you must properly acknowledge all copies used in teaching materials
  • instructors can now use digital technologies, e.g. smartboards or the VLE, for copying as long as the source is correctly acknowledged

Despite these positive changes to the law, we would still recommend that you use copyright free images or those licensed under Creative Commons for use in teaching.

You may find it useful to look at this tutorial on finding copyright-free images on the Internet.