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Online Worries:
by Sara W. Tucker
red check icon"What do you mean I can't use that image/map/handout online - it's educational!  I've done it for years!"
While copyright isn't the only thing to worry about when putting PowerPoint online (for example, there is the problem of only some browsers showing it well), right now it definitely seems to be the main thing. Instructors, used to being able to show media without restriction in classrooms, sometimes have a hard time facing the reality that we don't have the right to use lots of media online, even in password-protected online course materials. Many people ask "Who says? Where is it spelled out?" Unfortunately the answer is nowhere clearly or simply.  Go to Fair Use Guidelines for Educational Multimedia to see one of the many, many pages up on the web which try to explain the current situation of electronic copyright restrictions.

The reality is that it is Washburn University policy that no copyrighted material can be used, without specific permission, in any online setting. Anywhere that students (or anyone else) can take a digital copy of the material, you are distributing it electronically, and that is not allowed with materials under copyright.

red check icon "How Do I Know If It's Available for Online Use, or Under Copyright?"
Big question; often big pain. Just because it's up on the web doesn't mean we can assume it is already in the public domain and so available for all. Iin other words, one person stealing something and putting it up on the web doesn't make it right for the rest of us to make free with the stolen goods.  Basically, you don't know if you can use it unless you yourself created it or took  it from a source no longer under copyright (more than 75 years old has been the standard), have seen a specific statement saying the item is generally available for online educational use, or have gotten specific permission from the copyright holder. This means many things we can use freely in closed environments, we can't use freely online.
red check icon "So Where's The Best Place to Find Usable Media?"
While it isn't yet very easy to get digital texts, images, soundfiles, etc that are fairuse or come with permissions, it often can be done. Some good strategies for finding such materials: red check icon Duck the Question: Making a PPT Hyperlink Button to the Web

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