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Copyright and Blackboard

Blackboard and similar technologies present a host of new challenges for copyright law not envisioned by the drafters of the 1976 law. Congress has subsequently made changes to Title 17 to account for many of these technological developments. We ask that faculty members who use Blackboard take a little extra care when deciding what to post to Blackboard. The purpose of this page is to provide guidance to GW faculty on how to utilize Blackboard while remaining compliant with copyright law. It is important to note that posting an item on a password-protected site like Blackboard does not exempt a faculty member from their responsibility to adhere to copyright law. 

The following are general guidelines that GW faculty should always consider when posting material on Blackboard:

  1. Faculty shall only post materials onto Blackboard for nonprofit, educational use. 
  2. Faculty must include the proper attributions and citations for all posted materials.
  3. Access to course materials on Blackboard should be limited to the faculty and students currently registered for that particular course.  Once the course is completed, students should no longer have access to any posted course materials.

Posting copyrighted material without permission:

  1. Faculty should never post the entirety of a copyrighted work without the copyright owner’s express permission.  For example, faculty should not upload an entire book onto Blackboard.
  2. If using web content, please link directly to that content, rather than copying it to Blackboard.
  3. If linking to a website is not possible, faculty should consider adding the material to E-Reserves and then posting a link to the E-Reserves material onto Blackboard.  For inquiries related to linking material on E-Reserves, please contact GW Libraries Course Reserves.
  4. If linking to a website or E-Reserves is not feasible, consider if you can use the material under fair use.
  5. As always, when in doubt, seek permission from the copyright holder.