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Copyright & bCourses for Course Instructors: Can I Post this Content?

This guide helps instructors determine whether copyrighted content can be posted to bCourse sites.

Copyright Workflow for Posting to bCourses

This page sets forth the copyright workflow for an instructor's decision about posting course content.  If you wish to visualize this workflow, please download the Copyright Workflow Diagram. 

Can I post this content to my bCourse site without getting prior permission?

Yes, if you can answer "yes" to one of the following questions.

  1. Has permission already been provided by the copyright holder?  (Get help determining whether there is already permission.)
  2. Is the material in the public domain?  (Get help determining whether material is in the public domain.)
  3. Is posting it fair use?  (Get help making a fair use decision.)
  4. Is posting subject to another statutory copyright exemption like the TEACH Act?  (Get help determining whether posting satisfies the TEACH Act.)

What if the answer to the workflow questions is "no"?

If you could not answer "yes" to one of the above four questions, you have two options for posting the material to your bCourse:

  1. Post a link to content, rather than uploading the content, itself.  It is always permissible, and thus advisable, to link to material online or in UC Berkeley-accessible databases; linking obviates the need to undertake the above analysis.  (Get help finding and linking to library and open-access content.)
  2. Seek permission from the copyright holder to post the content.  (Get help requesting permission.)

Posting Tips

If you decide that posting the content is permissible under the above workflow, best practices suggest:

  • Providing time-limited access for the course, not access in perpetuity
  • Limiting access to students enrolled in a course and other appropriate individuals (e.g. teaching assistants)
  • Including copyright information associated with the material