things right to copy

Carmichael, Alexander. Field Notebook © The University of Edinburgh
Carmichael, Alexander. Field Notebook © The University of Edinburgh

Copyright is a hot topic in the heady world of lecture capture.  It’s also Thing 11 in our online course 23 Things for Digital Knowledge

We are lucky to be able to learn from best practice at other institutions.  The excellent Jane Secker  ( UK Copyright Literacy) has been doing some research to find out what the issues are. She has surveyed UK HE institutions.


I expect we will need to support our colleagues with advice something like this ( adpated from Birkbeck)


Can I use copyright material in my lectures?

You may sometimes wish to use copyright work (e.g. an image, video clip or piece of text) belonging to another person or organisation in the course of your teaching.  The Copyright, Designs and Patents Act (1988) currently states that copying for educational purposes is permitted, so long as it is not undertaken by a mechanical process. This essentially means you cannot scan, photocopy, or record (using lecture capture) copyright works without explicit permission from the owner.

In terms of lecture recordings, your options are as follows:

  • Pause the recorder
  • Edit the recording later
  • Provide links to the relevant material instead
  • Use Open Educational Resources (OER)
  • Just record audio

Are there exceptions that would allow copyright works to be used?

Showing a video, such as a clip from a film and playing music is permitted under the law, so long as it is solely for the purposes of education and the lecture is not recorded.

Similarly, you can use small amounts of copyright material for the purposes of ‘criticism and review.’ Clearly, good practice requires acknowledging your sources, and stating where it is being used for criticism and review. In this case the work can be included in a recorded lecture.

What am I allowed to include in a recorded lecture?

The Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA) Higher Education Licence allows small amounts of published copyright works (books and journals) to be copied for teaching purposes. This includes illustrations and images within the works.

In addition, if material that you find online is licensed under Creative Commons (CC) – a less restrictive form of copyright – then you will be able to show this material in a lecture that is being recorded. Again, the source should be acknowledged.

What about material from YouTube?

The copyright in material that you might show from sites such as YouTube lies with the creator of the video, so you would need to obtain permission directly from them (YouTube cannot grant this on their behalf). Some of these materials may be available for educational use or under a CC licence. Although it is permissible to show these recordings for educational purposes, and to provide links to the material, you should exclude this content from a recorded lecture. This can be done by pausing the recording whilst the clip is being played.

Streamed services such as the BBC iplayer or Box of Broadcast National (aka BoB National) may also be used in class but again are not to be included in recorded lectures.

What about using images in my teaching?

Although easy to download, online images are frequently subject to some sort of copyright, and unless you own the copyright yourself, it is usually NOT legal or acceptable to download them and use them in your recorded lectures.

There are several ways that you can legally use images in your recorded lectures:

  • Use images where their copyright has expired
  • Many sites e.g. Flickr, allow you to use images under a Creative Commons (CC) licence – all CC licences mean the copyright owner must be attributed.
  • There are an increasing number of Open Educational Resources that allow the use of images in this way.
  • Contact your Subject Librarian – they will be able to sign post CC subject specific image sources
  • Create your own
  • Obtain permission to use them from the copyright holder

What about other cases when you can show material you don’t own in lectures?

There are several other instances when you can use copyright material, including:

  • When the copyright period in the material has expired
  • When University of Edinburgh owns the copyright of the material e.g.  publicity material, other learning and teaching resources produced by the University.
  • When you have specific copyright clearance ( under licence via the Library) to use the materials in this way.

What are the risks associated with using copyright material?

You are responsible for making sure that your recorded lectures do not infringe copyright. University of Edinburgh, however, is at risk of prosecution for infringing copyright, either within recorded lectures, or by uploading materials to a VLE, public folders, or another website.

Although it may be legal to use these materials within a class, it does not necessarily make it legal to include them within a recorded lecture and/or upload these to  a VLE.

what to watch


The University is targeting an improved student digital experience by investing several million pounds in a state-of-the-art lecture recording system to cover 400 rooms in over the next 3 years.

We want to make sure that your thoughts and ideas on lecture recording are gathered so they can be used during our investigations with suppliers.  Having your thoughts included within the process will make sure we make the most of this opportunity to enhance the experience for students and academics at the University of Edinburgh.

The ability to watch lectures again as an aid to revision is immensely popular with our students already and capturing video and audio recordings of lectures at scale will supplement the rich set of online resources that already exist to support learning.

There are many proven benefits to making recordings of lectures available including supporting students for whom English is not a first language and ensuring that our face to face lectures are available in an alternative format for students who require it. Not having to take notes at speed allows students to focus more on what is being said and use valuable contact time to ask questions, knowing that notes can be reviewed and improved later.

We have created 18 use cases for lecture recording.  We want you to look at these use cases and think ‘how should this work?’  We want you to think of this in terms of usability and your workflows when using the service.
The creation of policy around lecture recording at this scale will form a separate piece of work, these workshops are about the functionality.

We also want you to tell us which use cases are your priority.

Finally, ‘what are we missing?’  We want you to suggest any use cases not covered.

things to read carefully

Picture taken by me in the street of a Calum Colvin artwork. No rights reserved by me.

Since we are thinking about Twitter on ‘23 things for digital knowledge‘ and we have learned about privacy, and we have read our social media guidelines and we are going to learn about copyright and OER;  I thought it was worth having a good look at the Twitter Terms of Service.

I note in the first point: ‘ If you are accepting these Terms and using the Services on behalf of a company, organization, government, or other legal entity, you represent and warrant that you are authorized to do so.‘  I wonder, if we tweet from a work account, has our university/dept authorised us to tweet on its behalf?

On privacy: ‘You understand that through your use of the Services you consent to the collection and use (as set forth in the Privacy Policy) of this information, including the transfer of this information to the United States, Ireland, and/or other countries for storage, processing and use by Twitter and its affiliates.’ Good thing we understand our privacy settings.

On copyright: ‘By submitting, posting or displaying Content on or through the Services, you grant us a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free license (with the right to sublicense) to use, copy, reproduce, process, adapt, modify, publish, transmit, display and distribute such Content in any and all media or distribution methods (now known or later developed).’   The right to reproduce, adapt, modify, distribute. That’s a lotta license!

access to things

Picture taken by me of a window in Budapest. No rights reserved by me.

I am participating in the University of Edinburgh digital skills course ‘23 things for digital knowledge‘. Thing 6 is  about accessibility.  I was listening on Radio 4 to ‘tweet of the day’ this morning while scrolling through Twitter and I mused on the possibility of having tweets actually tweeted, as in spoken outloud. A quick google search revealed instructions on Instructables on how to make it so.

Twitter Enabled Text to Speech

I’m thinking perhaps a day of making accessible tools would be a good use of our new ‘UCreate Studio’ Maker Space in the Main Library.

things to include

EuroStemCell Wikithon 2016I am participating in the University of Edinburgh digital skills course ‘23 things for digital knowledge‘. Thing 5 is  about diversity.

As well as being one of the ISG change themes through which we are looking at our organisation and changing it to be fit for the future, equality and diversity is part of a larger consideration of digital transformation going on in the university, being championed by our CIO.

Our CIO challenges us to think about the ‘internet of me’, where each of us is at the centre of a web of services tailored to what the internet knows about us and what it anticipates  our wants and desires to be as a result.  Examples given of Uber, Airbnb etc certainly seem to make life easier for some.

I’d suggest that we cannot think about digital transformation without considering privilege and bias.  For some people, their experience of the internet is not as positive as it may seem to be for white, wealthy, north american or british men. For some it is  toxic, biased and perpetuates unhelpful stereotypes.  It is up to us as tech professionals to consider all our users and ensure that we create an internet for all. It is up to us not only to consider our unconscious bias but also to check and recheck that the services we build are inclusive.

The best way we can do that it to have diverse teams working on every project and provide safe working environments for colleagues to share their experiences which can inform our thinking. The risk if we don’t is that the more our services become personalised, the less we are able to empathise with the experience of others.

Some articles worth reading:
Airbnb’s ‘belong anywhere’ undercut by bias complaints
Can computers be racist? Big data, inequality, and discrimination
Research reveals huge scale of social media misogyny

things to cover up

Picture taken by me. Typesetting by Penguin. No rights reserved by me.
Picture taken by me. Typesetting by Penguin. No rights reserved by me.

I am participating in the University of Edinburgh digital skills course ‘23 things for digital knowledge‘. Thing 4 is about digital security. I have checked the security permissions on my phone and ipad, but I am particularly freaked out by the idea that your own camera can be used to watch you without your permission. My laptop is often open around my house and that’s not a kind of knowledge I am keen to share.

Even the FBI- an organisation well known for unwarranted surveillance- suggest covering your webcam. I suggest using a cheerful sticker, perhaps one you have collected from an Adalovelace Lego, Wikipedia editathon or even the 23Things course. Perhaps the University’s information security team will issue a sticker of the perfect size.

Put tape over your webcam, FBI director warns.

I heard James Comey interviewed on the radio discussing who the targets for such privacy invasions usually are. I think he said young women were particularly targetted by this kind of phish/malware /hack. In an attempt to find that reference I made the mistake of googling ‘young girls webcam’. Mistake. Now that’s in my internet history.

thinking about things

Picture taken by me of a troll in Norway. No rights reserved by me, but I admit I didn’t ask his permission to use his image on my blog, so he may come after me.

I am participating in the University of Edinburgh digital skills course ‘23 things for digital knowledge‘.

The first thing to do is to think about blogging.  I have been blogging for about 10 years now. I have always had a university hosted blog rather than a personal one.  I enjoy the opportunity for reflective writing that it gives me and for thinking ‘out loud’ about ideas I am still forming or testing before they become formal work positions or plans. I see blogging as part of open practice in sharing ideas but also giving insight into the thinking behind some of the decisions I make in my leadership role.

I have no idea how many people read my blog and I’m not sure I want to know, but occasionally I get messages and comments or retweets and links, so that’s always nice.


Task: Use your blog to write a short post about:

A) what you hope to gain out of the 23 Things programme.

I have participated in 23 things programmes before, but the lovely thing about them is, the things are different in each institution and I plan to learn something new.

B) were you aware of the University’s Social Media Guidelines for Staff and Researchers or the student Social Media Student Handbook? What do you think of the guidelines/handbook?

My thoughts on the social media guidelines for staff and researchers are that they seem very focussed on protecting the university from any risk that might result from what we might write, but there is nothing about the risks we might personally be  taking in putting ourselves ‘out there’ and nothing about how the university will support us if, while we are using social media, we should happen to attract trolls, abuse, harassment etc.

Last week I attended the ALT Conference where there was a rather splendid keynote talk about trolls by Josie Fraser. It contains some good advice which I think should be part of these guidelines.

Given the dreadful things Labour party members seem to be saying to each other online these days, I wonder whether the university should have a good behaviour pledge too.

these are a few of my favourite things

Picture taken by me on a visit to an interesting bookshelf. No rights reserved by me.

A few years ago I was very pleased to participate in the #23things  social media training programme at University of Oxford.  The course is designed to get you trying out 23 social media things and reflecting on how you might use them and what you think.

While I worked through the course I kept a regular blog which you can read here:

I recommend the course, and I am delighted to say we now have an Edinburgh version! You may all now have the chance to do the things you do best.

The #23things idea is a reused course design and once you are on the course you become a collector of #23things forever.

My 23 things: “One last thing”, “The order of things”, “Things can only get better”, “The way you do the things you do”, “A Jedi craves not these things”, “They do things differently there”, “These are a few of my favorite things”, “Enjoy the little things in life, for one day you’ll look back and realize they were big things.”, “If you never did you should. These things are fun and fun is good.” “One thing and another”.