eLearning sites

University policy requires that all online, third-party, text-based materials required for student course work be made available through the eReadings system operated by the University Library. This is to ensure compliance with the stringent conditions set out in the Copyright Act and CAL Agreement.

However, you can put other material on eLearning sites.


What you can include on eLearning sites

Text–based materials

  • tutorial materials and laboratory manuals prepared by University staff
  • your lecture notes including images & diagrams
  • administrative material relating to the course prepared by you or your colleagues

Images & diagrams

Note: you may have to contribute information about online images and diagrams during a survey or monitoring period every three or four years.


  • links to readings in Library eReadings, but access must be restricted to University staff & students
  • links to full-text articles in electronic journals subscribed to by the University Library – you can make these links yourself but it is better to ask Library staff to construct the links for you. Library staff have specialised knowledge of publisher’s websites and can often create enduring links that will facilitate off-campus access for your students and minimise the risk of dead links on your website.
  • links to external websites – when you create a link to an external website, check the hyperlinking policy for the site and comply with the conditions
  • deep links, i.e. a link to a page which is not the website’s homepage. Check that the origin and ownership of the linked material are still visible. This is to ensure that students using your website are aware that this content does not belong to you but that someone else has created it. In other words, that you have not tried to pass off someone else’s material as your own work.
  • don’t link to websites containing material which infringes copyright: encouraging students to visit these websites could be interpreted as authorising copyright infringement.

Multi-media resources

  • copies of radio and TV programs recorded from broadcasts under Part VA of the Copyright Act. Remember to mark hard copies, display the Part VA Warning Notice if copies are streamed and acknowledge the creator and source of the works.
    You can also use programs from the database TVNews in this way.
    See TV & radio broadcasts for more information.
  • podcasts of TV and radio programs originally broadcast by free to air stations in Australia can be downloaded to eLearning sites and streamed to students. Podcasts from some overseas broadcasters can also be used. See Podcasts for more information.

Recorded lectures

Student’s essays and assignments

  • students own the copyright in any work they produce while they are enrolled at the University of Sydney. See the University of Sydney (Intellectual Property) Rule 2002 (PDF) for more details
  • you will need the student’s permission if you wish to place their essays, assignments and other work on eLearning sites or use it in other ways
  • obtain the student’s permission by asking them to sign a release form or agreement giving the University the right to use their work for the purposes specified in the document
  • once you have obtained a student’s permission, your use of their work is limited to the purpose set out in the release form. If you want to use their work for some additional purpose, you will need to negotiate a new agreement with the student, particularly if the additional purpose involves any commercial use of their work
  • if the student’s essay or assignment contains excerpts from third-party copyright material, the copyright owner’s permission will be needed before the work can be posted on eLearning sites, even if the site is restricted to internal users
  • under the moral rights clauses of the Copyright Act, students should be attributed as the author or creator of their work.

Permission from copyright owner

  • if you have permission (known as a licence) from the copyright owner you can use the material within the scope of that permission.
  • you should check that the permission allows you to upload the material to your content repository and make it available to students.
  • check how the copyright owner wants to be attributed, and make sure you attribute the material clearly on each page.

What you cannot include

  • chapters scanned from published books, or articles scanned from hard copy volumes of periodicals – these can only be made available via the Library’s eReadings service
  • full-text articles downloaded from electronic resources subscribed to by the University Library. Access to these resources is governed by contracts, which do not permit files to be downloaded and then uploaded to other locations where students can access them. If you do this, you may breach the contract conditions for the electronic resources. Ask Library staff to create links to articles you want your students to read or create the links yourself.
  • copies of purchased or hired DVDs. This is an infringement of copyright, unless you have the copyright owner’s permission. S200AB may allow you to upload a film after completing a 6 step test, provided copy protection locks are not removed.
  • copies of videos from YouTube since this contravenes YouTube’s Terms of Use
  • lectures containing music outside the scope of the Music Licence.

Limits to online access

Under Parts VA and VB of the Act, the University is required to take reasonable steps to limit access to online material to staff and students of the University.
Note the following points:

  • material on eLearning sites must not be accessible by the general public and should only be accessible by a restricted web site where authentication is required, such as WebCT or Blackboard
  • if you e-mail copyright material to students, only send the message to enrolled students or University staff
  • don’t post third-party copyright material on public blogs – this is an infringement of copyright. Parts VA and VB specify that access to third party copyright material must be restricted to University of Sydney staff and students. It must not be accessible by the general public.

Why can't I make digital copies of copyright materials for LMS myself?

Unless you hold the copyright of a text, or have explicit permission from the copyright holder, making a copy available in LMS is likely to contravene copyright.

The University holds a Statutory Licence (Part VB) which grants limited permission to designated persons (i.e. library staff) to scan copyright protected publications for use in teaching.

The Library's eReadings Service:

  • checks copyright compliance,
  • adds mandatory copyright notices,
  • keeps the records required by the licence and
  • participates in mandatory copyright compliance surveys under Part VB licence.

Library also provides high quality scans that include all the information students need to reference the reading accurately under the moral rights. Moral rights are rights provided to creators under copyright law in order to protect both their reputation and the integrity of their work.

Warning Notices

Under Parts VA and VB, the relevant warning notice must appear every time a copy is made available online.
If you:

  • make images and diagrams available as part of your lecture notes via your eLearning site, you must ensure that the Part VB Warning Notice appears at the beginning of each lecture
  • email any documents to your students, the Part VB Warning Notice should appear before the students open each document
  • make copies of radio and TV programs recorded off-air or copies of podcasts available under Part VA of the Copyright Act, you must ensure that the Part VA Warning Notice appears before the file opens and the material is viewed or downloaded.

Student discussion groups on WebCT, Blackboard and blogs

Students participating in discussion groups on systems such as WebCT, Blackboard, wikis and blogs should not post third-party copyright material onto these sites as part of their discussions, as this could be an infringement of copyright.

  • the right to make material available online is one of the exclusive rights of the copyright owner. Posting a work to a website is likely to be considered a breach of the copyright owner's basic rights and therefore an infringement of copyright
  • students can rely on the research or study exception in the Copyright Act to reproduce sections from copyright works in an essay or assignment, but they cannot rely on this section to put someone else’s work online even to a limited group. The research or study exception only applies to an individual’s own research or study and posting something online means it is no longer just for that individual’s own research or study.
  • teaching staff should not permit or encourage students to upload third–party copyright material to eLearning sites or discussion groups. It is possible that this could be considered an authorisation to commit an act which infringes copyright and action could be taken against both the University and the staff member involved.

Avoiding problems

If your students discover material that they want to share, try adopting one of the following approaches:

  • encourage the students to post the URL or citation on their blog, website or shared space: sharing the URL is not a copyright infringement
  • arrange for the material to be made available via Library eReadings
  • obtain permission from the copyright owners to use the material
  • if students want to post their essays and assignments online, make sure that they do not contain quotations and extracts from third-party copyright material. If they do, it will be necessary to obtain permission.
  • exercise particular care with any film and music clips – posting these to discussion groups is particularly risky
  • if in doubt, consult the Director of Copyright Services.