Course Material form Copyrighted Textbook

Nov 24, 2015

I have been asked to create an online course out of current textbooks that are used in class. There is obviously a copyright issue here if I take the content from a textbook and add it to a course.

I am wondering if anyone has had to do this and what steps they have taken to be able to use the copyrighted material.

2 Replies
Christy Tucker

Usually when I've taken content from a book for a course, it's been a small portion of the book like a few diagrams. The one time I used more was a copyrighted model repeatedly in the course, and that model shaped the structure of the course. In all of those cases, we asked the publishers or author for permission to use their content. Sometimes we paid licensing fees. Note that this can take an extremely long time; some of the publishers took months to reply.

If you're planning to use a significant amount of content, they probably won't grant permission, or they'll charge you a hefty licensing fee.

Do these books already have online learning materials? Many textbooks do nowadays. Can you link to those existing materials for portions of the course?

The other alternative is to use the textbooks as sources for research, along with other sources of content. Combine all the sources together and write your own words, and it's no longer a copyright violation--it's research! :)

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