Below are frequently asked questions related to copyright. LSE staff and students who need any further help or assistance should contact:

Many universities are starting to release some of their teaching and learning materials as open educational resources, which means they available under an open licence and can be re-used by others. Many of these materials are licensed under Creative Commons licences (see above). Examples of sites containing open education resources include MIT’sOpen Courseware initiative and the Open University’s OpenLearn site. LSE have also released a small number of open educational resources available in Learning Resources Online.

You can find these teaching and learning resources from other teaching in further and higher education in Jorum, the UK’s repository for teaching and learning materials, many of which are open educational resources. Depending on the format you may be able to upload the materials directly into Moodle. If you require any further advice about reusing or adapting materials from Jorum then contact

Image result for creative commons logo#Creative commons is a way of licensing material to protect some of the rights, rather than copyright which protects the work entirely. You can find out more about the Creative Commons movement and the licences on the Creative Commons website. So for example some people are happy to allow you to re-use their work (e.g. an image, a video or a piece of text) if it’s for a non-commercial purpose and if you give them credit. All the contents of the site Wikipedia, including the images are licensed under Creative Commons.

You can search for material licensed under different types of Creative Commons licenses using the Creative commons search. You can also use a Creative Commons Licence on your own work to indicate when you are happy to share it with others.

Linking is a fundamental part of the web and generally does not cause copyright issues. However, there are several good practice guidelines that you should adhere to.

  • If you are linking to a resource available on the web you should as far as possible avoid a “deep link” which bypasses the home page of an organisation. This is for several reasons, but in particular, because deep links are less likely to be stable, and the material may be moved or taken down.
  • If you are linking to an external website you may wish to ensure the link opens in a new browser window or a new tab. This is to make it clear that the user is visiting an external site and leaving your website. It is particularly important when you are linking from Moodle, as it will help the student navigate back to Moodle. This is because many of the library subscription resources will not work when you click the back button.

Copyright exists on web-based materials in the same way as other published materials. You cannot cut and paste information or images into your site from another site without permission. If you wish to direct students to other web based materials, you can link to other websites, see below.

Before downloading or copying any material from the web you should pay particular attention to any copyright statement, terms and conditions or licence attached to the site. Increasingly, organisations are including this information prominently on their site and you should read it and take note of any specific restrictions. For example, see the BBC’s terms of use for their website.

Many educational websites will freely grant permission for other academics to use their material. You will need to identify the copyright holder and often the webmaster for a site is the most useful first point of contact. Their contact details are usually included on the bottom of web pages.

Images are equally covered by copyright law and increasingly commercial website owners are including a watermark in their images to discourage illegal copying. There are numerous web sites available that provide large number of free images.

LSE have a subscription to Box of Broadcasts (for access to a vast collection of digitised TV and radio broadcasts) andJISC Media Hub (which contains images, audio and video which has been copyright-cleared for educational use). You will need your LSE username and password to access these collections. More information is available at Copyright, Images and Multimedia.

Slides from your own lectures for which you hold the copyright, can be easily incorporated into a Moodle course.  S.32 (Illustration for Instruction) of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, allows limited, non-commercial ‘fair dealing’ use of copyright materials for the purposes of teaching. For example, the inclusion of images with in PowerPoint slides, however you must provide a suitable acknowledgement of the source. You will need copyright permission to use significant amounts of materials (e.g. images or video) which belong to other individuals for other purposes or if you wish to make material available for purposes other than teaching. It is advisable to source images for use in PowerPoint presentations from copyright-free collections, or those licensed under Creative Commons. For further details see Copyright, Images and Multimedia.

The time taken to get copyright permission can vary depending on individual copyright holders. The School holds a Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA) Higher Education Licence which covers the majority of UK publishers which means the use of small amounts of materials (e.g. one chapter, or one article from a journal issue) may already be covered by the licence. However, obtaining permission for excluded materials for example, some content from American publications, in electronic format can take many weeks and may be prohibitively expensive.

The Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 previously made special provisions for copying for examination purposes, however this exception was removed from the law in June 2014 and replaced with an exception that allows material to be used for the purposes of illustration for instruction. If you are using online assessment tools, such as Quizzes or Surveys and wish to include copyrighted material contact Jane Secker ( for more information. It is likely you will be able to do this under S.32 Illustration for Instruction.

For any substantial use of a copyright work you are advised to seek permission or to use copyright-free materials wherever possible for teaching purposes. You will need permission unless:

  • the items are out of copyright
  • you are the copyright holder
  • You may be the author of an article but you are not necessarily the copyright holder. You may have assigned rights to the publisher; it is important that you check your publishing contact / terms of agreement.
  • LSE is the copyright holder
  • If a colleague has produced materials which you want to include in your web site it is only courteous to discuss this with them. Remember, permission is also required to adapt material produced by someone else.
  • The items are licensed under a Creative Commons or other open licence.

Copying for the purposes of illustration for instruction is an area of the law that changed in June 2014, so if you wish to include small extracts of materials for instruction purposes in Moodle please contact for further advice. However, you can now use extracts from TV and radio broadcasts in your teaching and in Moodle using Box of Broadcasts.

Many staff wish to use their own published material in Moodle and while you may be the author of an article a work but you are not necessarily the copyright holder of the final published edition of your work. You may have assigned rights to the publisher; so it is important that you check your publishing contract. If you wish to make your publications available electronically please consider depositing them in LSE Research Online. Many publishers will allow you to deposit your author-final version, i.e. the final, post-refereeing version you supplied to your publisher. The LSE Research Online team will check the publisher copyright permissions for your work and add full-text wherever possible. Inclusion in LSE Research Online will also improve the visibility of your research on search engines such as Google Scholar and feed through to your LSE Experts Directory page. See LSE Research Online for more details or for more details. and advice is available on a one to one basis and in small groups as part of the Digital Literacy Programme open to all LSE staff and PhD students. Courses such as ‘Digital Media in your Teaching’ and ’Going beyond Google’ are regularly run throughout the year. An interactive game-based workshop, using Copyright the Card Game is used in training for LSE staff. Copyright workshops for staff and PhD students also run regularly throughout term time. For more information about courses at LSE see the Training and Development system or contact

Yes, this is a good way of directing your students to use electronic resources, such as JSTOR journal articles or to a database such as the International Bibliopgraphy of the Social Sciences (IBSS), for which the LSE have an existing subscription. Don’t forget that some licence restrictions mean resources are only accessible from the LSE campus. For more advice about linking these types of resources see Linking to Electronic Journal Sources.

Journal articles and chapters from books available in electronic format via LSE Library can be made available from Moodle provided you link to these resources. If you wish to scan readings for use in Moodle LSE Library offer a Digitised Readings Service and you should contact the Library’s Electronic Course Pack Service team to request material as this may require copyright permission. LTI provide more information about Online Readings in Moodle. We recommend that you use Reading Lists @ LSE managed by LSE Library to make your readings available to students. This can then be integrated with your Moodle course. You can get advice and support on using this system from your Academic Support Librarian.

No. All articles, e-books, book chapters or working papers in fact any documents are subject to copyright unless explicitly stated otherwise. You cannot legally upload them to Moodle, even for educational purposes, without formal permission from the copyright owner (not necessarily the author). If you wish to upload working papers, then you should check the copyright of these papers, which is often held by the author of the paper. In general we would recommended that you link to such items online – see the next entry for details. Below is a quick flow chart to help you decide if you should upload material to Moodle:

Flowchart to determine copyright status

Figure 1: Copyright and Moodle (click to enlarge the image)

A number of significant changes to the UK Copyright, Designs and Patents Act came into force in 2014 including several new copyright exceptions. One of the most important provisions is that contracts can no longer override statutory exceptions to copyright. You can find more more about the exceptions and from this briefing note for LSE staff and students.

Further details about exceptions to Uk copyright law have been published by the Intellectual Property Office.

You are also advised to visit the resource