Copyright and iLearn

Every teacher wants to give students the best learning experience possible, right? Providing rich supplementary reading and video enhances student learning and, these days, it is so easy to make this happen – with just a few keystrokes, materials can be uploaded to iLearn. There is a nagging problem though – copyright in the education space can be a virtual minefield. 

Australian copyright law is complex and technical, even when you are copying for educational purposes. It’s all too easy to infringe copyright and licence conditions by indiscriminately uploading third party materials to iLearn. 

Since all teaching staff are responsible for copyright compliance on iLearn, it’s wise to resist the urge to upload materials unless you’re sure that either you or Macquarie owns the copyright, or that copyright in the material has expired. If not, you’ll need a licence or direct permission from the copyright owner to do so. 

Here are three key messages that will make your life simpler when you’re planning your iLearn site:

  1. Link, don’t copy. If you link to resources, you neatly sidestep many copyright and licensing issues. Linking doesn’t involve making a copy, so this isn’t an act in copyright. So, link to webpages on the internet, link to resources on Library databases, and link to (or embed) video content from sites such as YouTube. Be sure to link to a legal copy when you’re sourcing content.
  2. Use open access images and text works where possible, that are licensed as free for educational use. For example, Creative Commons licences allow educational use. 
  3. Let the Library help – take advantage of the Unit Readings service to manage your reading lists for students. From a copyright perspective, this just makes sense. This service operates on the new Leganto platform, fully integrated with iLearn. When complete, a reading list is created on your iLearn subject site with links to available readings. So much easier for you and for your students.
    You can input your reading list into the Leganto system yourself using self-help workflow charts and referring to copyright FAQs where necessary. Trained Library staff will review your reading list for copyright and licensing compliance once it’s submitted. Or, if you’re not confident, you can send your reading list as a Word document to lib.reserve@mq.edu.au and staff will process it as soon as possible. Be sure to allow sufficient time for processing as there can be high demand for service at peak times of the year. The website gives information about timelines each semester.

And another thing, attribution is really important- 

Attribution is a legal obligation as well as good academic practice. All images and text works uploaded to iLearn (or used in your PowerPoint slides, or anywhere else) must be fully attributed. As a minimum, you need to provide the title of the work, name of the author and details of the publisher/website where you sourced the material. 

As an example of attribution for the header image of this article:

“© Wallpaper in Public Domain” by sjrankin is licensed under CC BY 2.0 . Background expanded from original.


Help is at hand if you need to upload materials to iLearn, or if you have any doubts about your use of copyright or licensed materials. Copyright staff can advise on planning your iLearn site. Consult the Library’s copyright website for more information about uploading to iLearn, or email copyright staff.

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Posted by Jenny Ellis

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