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  • FAQs
  • Resources & downloads (NB access restricted to Monash staff and students)
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  • Note: The copyright information contained on this site is general and for information only.

    For legal advice, please consult a solicitor.


FAQs: Using content from the internet

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Can I show material found on the Internet or from YouTube to my class?

Unless you are sure that the footage on YouTube (or on any other internet site) is put there by the copyright owner, or with their authorisation, it is safer not to play, download or copy the YouTube or other internet content. We also can't direct students to play or download it for themselves, as this could be seen as the University authorising the students to infringe copyright.

However, if it is clear that the internet content isn't infringing (for example, film footage provided by the London zoo (ZSL) for display on YouTube, where they hold the copyright and are seeking to promote their activities through YouTube) we may be safe to show that footage in a class, just as we might display any other non-infringing website or DVD film during an actual class (ie don't copy or download the content but just access it in class). (Section 28 of the Australian Copyright Act provides for this where the audience is limited to staff and students involved in educational instruction and no fee is charged).

It may be difficult to tell whether online content is authorised by the copyright holder or not. You can seek advice from the copyright office for use of this material.

If you have to agree to terms of use to access content on the internet, those conditions would have to be followed eg they may only allow 'personal use'. This would not cover showing material in lectures.

The 'user terms' attached to the YouTube site at Youtube terms of use begin with the words "By using and/or visiting this website (collectively, including all content and functionality available through the domain name, the "YouTube Website", or "Website"), you signify your agreement to (1) these terms and conditions..."
Although there is no 'click to agree' to these terms, you may still be subject to them, so be aware of the limits imposed by these conditions of use.
One limitation is that users are supposed to stream directly or link to YouTube. The terms of use do not allow downloads of material found on YouTube. You can embedd them in your moodle site or presentation instead. See Embed a YouTube video

In some cases it will simply be safer to play (in class) video content that is from legitimately purchased DVDs or recorded from a broadcast under the Screenrights Licence. For advice on where to obtain copies, refer to the information at Teaching (sound and vision section)

Can I play music found on the Internet to my class?

If the source website is offering the music legitimately (with the authorisation of the rights holder) and you did not have to be a subscriber to the site, or enter into any terms of use to access the music on the site, then the 'play-in-class' allowance in the Copyright Act enables you to play (stream) this music during a class, 'live' from the source site. This allowance will not, however, allow you to download (copy) the music. For downloading/purchasing (and any ensuing use of the file) you will need to check the website terms and conditions. Make sure you read these terms carefully; see if they restrict usage to particular limited uses (ie personal or private use only). Note that music downloads on P2P sites are often unauthorised (ie pirated music).

The library provides access to legitimate audio and audiovisual music databases that can used as long as the audience is restricted to students and staff of Monash. Two of the largest are Naxos and the Music Online. Others can be found at Music Databases. Any questions about the use of these databases can be directed to the Music Librarian.

What can I copy from a website?

It is often easier to simply link to the relevant page or site and let users access the material themselves. There are no copyright issues with linking as long as the source material or site is clearly identified and the content not, of itself, infringing.
You can also copy certain types of material according to relevant exceptions in the Copyright Act, see Use of copyright material for Teaching and Use of copyright material for Research (for example you can copy images from a website for educational use under the Part VB CAL licence or you may be able to copy under one of the fair dealing exceptions).

In some cases, a website may even allow more extensive use but always check the site's terms and conditions. These are often found at the footer linked under 'copyright' 'terms of use' or even a phrase like 'all rights reserved'

Otherwise you would need permission from the copyright owner of the web material (who might not be the person that put the material online).

NOTE: If you have to agree to terms and conditions before accessing images on a website you will be bound by those terms (eg if you click on an 'I agree' box) and can only use the images in the way you have agreed to in the terms and conditions..

Some TV is made available online. Can we use this?

If the TV content is made available online by someone who is not the copyright owner (or is not authorised by the copyright owner), it should not be used. Where TV content is put online by an Australian broadcaster (ie via the broadcaster's own website) the Screenrights Part VA licence may apply. This allows copying, streaming and downloading of broadcast material for educational purposes (teaching) as long as access is restricted to Monash students and staff only and the Part VA warning notice is included. Some overseas broadcast material can also be used under this licence see: List of countries whose broadcast content/podcasts may be included under Screenrights licence. Note this list does NOT include USA, China, Singapore, New Zealand or Hong Kong.

Broadcaster services which repeat programs, such as the ABC's iview or channel 9's fixplay, can also be played (ie 'streamed') in class in reliance on the 'play-in-class' allowance within the Copyright Act (section 28).

Further use of TV content (ie, for your own research or creative work) will depend on the terms of use of the source website. But it is unlikely you would be able to use it in a manner which alters the content substantially (eg for mashups) unless specifically given permission by the copyright owners or unless this use could be considered a fair dealing.

Send an email inquiry to the University's Copyright Adviser.