Library:Copyright Resources/MOOCs Copyright Guide/General Guidelines

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General Guidelines

  • MOOC authors should use public domain or openly licensed material covered by Creative Commons and other open, free-for-use licences. However, please note that materials licensed with a non-commercial (NC) clause cannot be used in Coursera-based MOOCs.
  • For all other copyrighted material, MOOC authors should obtain permission from rights holders. The permission should be in writing (email will suffice). The SCCO will assist with seeking permission, but it is not always possible to contact rights holders. MOOC authors should submit permission requests to the SCCO at least 10 weeks in advance of when you will need it. Additionally, a file record of who gave the permission, what was permitted, the date, and how to contact the person who gave the permission will need to be kept. The SCCO will also assist in managing permission records.
  • It is always preferable to hyperlink to materials, rather than copy materials for distribution. Providing a hyperlink is not currently believed to be the same as making a copy or distributing a work, and can be done without permission.
  • There are lots of materials available for use in MOOCs. For details, see the What Copyright Allows You to Copy section below.
  • In many cases, the best decision might be to simply remove third-party copyrighted content that is not essential to the pedagogy of a learning unit, for example, purely illustrative content. Participants in open courses report that the experience is quite different than in a classroom, and the impact of purely illustrative content is reduced.
  • MOOC authors should always provide an attribution to the original source. This acknowledgement can be made at the end of a learning unit or contribution; it need not be included directly where the work is used, if that would harm the flow of the author’s content.
  • Generally, it is not practical to pay transactional licensing fees for MOOCs.
  • The fair dealing exception applies in MOOCs, but there are fewer express educational exceptions to rely upon. See the final section of these guidelines for more information.

Adapted with permission from Kevin L. Smith’s Copyright in Coursera: Guidelines for using copyrighted material in Coursera MOOCs (2012).