Use of copyrighted material in educational resources

Copyright issues associated with the use of the lecture and webinar recording systems differ depending on whether the session is being recorded to be made available to view later or not. These guidelines apply to all educational resources such as lectures, webinars or e-learning sessions developed for the RCR (referred to as ‘resources’). The content of this document is for guidance only and does not purport to be a statement of the current law. Readers should not rely on this either as an accurate or complete representation of the law.

1. Can I use copyright material in my resource?

2. What about using patient images?

3. What about using material from your own/colleagues research, including tables and images?

4. Can I use excerpts from recorded TV or radio programmes?

5. What about showing (and recording) material from commercially bought videos or DVDs?

6. Can I use sound recordings in my resources?

7. What about showing and recording material from YouTube?

8. What are the risks associated with using copyright material?

9. What can the RCR do to help?


1. Can I use copyright material in my resource?
Several exceptions allow copyright works to be used for educational purposes. Those that are most relevant are:

  • The copying of works in any medium as long as the use is solely to illustrate a point or for criticism or review, it is not done for commercial purposes, it is accompanied by a sufficient acknowledgement, and the use is fair dealing. This means minor uses, such as displaying a few lines of a paper, are permitted, but uses which would undermine sales of the article are not. Only the amount of the work needed to illustrate the point may be taken. (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/exceptions-to-copyright#history and https://www.copyrightservice.co.uk/copyright/p27_work_of_others)  Where the copyright has expired (e.g. public domain works)  Where you have created your own images or taken your own photographs  Where you have obtained permission to use them from the copyright holder
  • When the RCR owns the copyright of the material e.g. other learning and teaching resources produced by the College.
  • Where material is licensed under Creative Commons (CC), providing you acknowledge the source and check the terms of the license, you may be able to show these materials in your resource. Educational resources will often be labelled as such:

2. What about using patient images?
You can use photographic or radiological images of patients created in your place of work as long as they are fully anonymised and patients are not identifiable from the images or any data files attached. This means not only removing their name and date of birth from the actual image, but also any identifiers such as NHS/ hospital number, hospital name, doctors name, etc. from any metadata file attached.


3. What about using material from your own/colleagues research, including tables and images?

Although it may be your work, you may have already signed away the copyright to this if you have had the research published by a journal. Any publishing agreement must be checked to see how the work can now be used. In some cases you can use the pre-print version of the article, including the illustrations. Otherwise it may be possible to request permission for extracts of journal articles to be used.


4. Can I use excerpts from recorded TV or radio programmes?

The RCR is not eligible for an educational recording agency (ERA) licence, which would permit the use of (and copying of) TV and radio broadcasts for educational purposes. This means you cannot show (or copy) material from on demand TV services such as the BBC iPlayer unless you gain individual permission.


5. What about showing (and recording) material from commercially bought videos or DVDs?

Commercially purchased videos and DVDs can be shown in lectures for educational purposes but substantial use of the content should not be recorded as a part of your resource unless you get permission from the copyright holder.


6. Can I use sound recordings in my resources?

Commercially bought audio CDs can be used in teaching but should not be included in a lecture recording, so these sections will need to be edited out from the recorded lecture.
Podcasts that you download from the web normally have an implied licence that enables you to copy and use them, as downloading them is a means of copying, so you should be alright to use them, unless they have an accompanying statement that precludes their use.


7. What about showing and recording material from YouTube?

The copyright in videos that you might show from sites such as YouTube or iTunes U resides with the creator of the video, so you would need to obtain permission directly from them (YouTube or iTunes U cannot grant this on their behalf). Some of these materials may be available for educational use or under a CC licence. While it may be permissible to show these recordings for educational purposes and provide links to the material in e-learning resources, it may not be possible to include them in a recording, depending on the type of licence .


8. What are the risks associated with using copyright material?

You are responsible for making sure that your resources do not infringe copyright; however, the RCR is at risk of being subject to legal proceedings for infringing copyright, either within recorded lectures, or by uploading materials to the website or e-learning hub, public folders or another website.
Although it may be legal to use some materials within a lecture, it does not necessarily make it legal to include them within a recorded lecture or webinar and/or upload them to the website


9. What can the RCR do to help?
If you have any concerns about material you wish to use in your resources then please contact rcrlearning@rcr.ac.uk for advice before the resource is developed. It is possible to edit resources after they are made to remove content, but is far easier to resolve issues beforehand. The RCR may agree with you not to record your lecture or webinar presentation if it is highly dependent on copyrighted material. The RCR reserve the right to remove any resources in the light of any proven copyright infringements.