Copyright on online sources always seems to be a little bit of a grey area for many when it comes to making it available for students as part of learning resources.
In all instances you ought to check with the Library on the legality of using or copying resources for your learning materials and students. But this article on Information LawGroup website is a good one to read for a little bit if background to the link vs copy question: “Does linking to content infringe copyright?” The legal case is based around an individual selling a link to copyright material, that itself infringes copyright. The case was held that the issue of selling a hyperytext (HTML) link does not infringe the copyright ownership of the material:
“A hyperlink (or HTML instructions directing an internet user to a particular website) is the digital equivalent of giving the recipient driving directions to another website on the Internet. A hyperlink does not itself contain any substantive content; in that important sense.”
A rule of thumb is that you should never connect yourself or your learners to material that may infringe on the copyright, whether it is an item protected by a pay-wall or has been loaded (e.g. to YouTube) by someone who may not be the original copyright holder (e.g. BBC programme loaded to YouTube by an account not affiliated or controlled by the BBC).
When developing your learning resources it is essential that you follow guidance from the Library in what is safe and legal to use or upload to Blackboard, and what is not: see the Library pages on Copyright and the Library content that deal with eReserves, online articles, and document scanning.
If you want to provide extract of books or journals, or electronic versions of articles or chapters of books you must again consult the Library to make sure the eReserves materials are copied or scanned according to the CLA Licence. If you are working towards new materials, or for a new programme or module, then the Library has many resources available to help you out too, and the Academic Liaison team are available to help.
Thanks to Tania Rowlett, Copyright Administration Manager, for sharing the Information LawGroup article via Twitter this morning.