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Using AudioVisual Resources for Teaching : Home

A Guide for Teaching Staff


If you are a member of teaching staff you will want to use a range of works within the teaching materials you provide your students including audio-visual materials such as images, films, TV broadcasts and YouTube videos. These works will normally be protected by copyright so it is important you consider copyright when creating your materials in particular when teaching online. 

This guide will help you understand:

  • How licences the University pays for can enable you to lawfully reuse audio-visual works
  • How copyright exceptions can enable you to use other people’s work without infringing copyright
  • Who to contact for further advice and assistance

Copyright is a complex area of law; staff are encouraged to refer to this guide and if in doubt contact for further advice.  

What can I copy?

Copyright is an intellectual property right which protects a creator from other people using their work without permission. 

What can I copy?

  • If you created the work you (or the University) will own the copyright - no restrictions apply.
  • You can copy or reuse someone else's work if:
  • the work is out of copyright
  • the copying is covered by a licence
  • a statutory exception applies

How long does copyright last?

Copyright doesn't last forever and when it has expired a work can be reused without requiring permission. 

Type of work How long copyright lasts
Literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works 70 years after the death of the author
Films 70 years after death of director, screenplay author and composer
Sound and music recordings 70 years after first publication
Broadcasts 50 years from first broadcast
Moral right to be identified as the author  lasts as long as copyright in the work
Typographical arrangement of a published edition 25 years from publication



A range of licences exist which allow staff and students at subscribing institutions to copy protected works without having to obtain permission from individual copyright owners. The University pays for licences covering a range of different materials. Staff wishing to use audio-visual works within teaching may find the ERA licence which covers broadcasts from TV and radio particularly useful.

More information about specific licences can be found in the other sections of this Guide. 

Copyright Exceptions

There is no blanket exception for 'educational use' in UK law, however there are a number of useful copyright exceptions which enable you to use a copyright work without requiring express permission from the copyright owner.  In the context of using audio-visual works for teaching the exceptions listed below are the most helpful.

Most of the exceptions are subject to fair dealing which means the use of the work must not adversely affect the sales of the work and the amount being copied must be reasonable and appropriate to the context in which it is being used. 

  • Illustration for Instruction (s32 Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (CDPA)) allows you to use all types of copyright works for the purpose of illustration for instruction. This includes illustrating or reinforcing a teaching point or setting, communicating and answering exam questions. Fair dealing applies and the work must be acknowledged unless it is impractical to do so. 
  • Quotation (S30 (1ZA) CDPA) allows you to quote from a work (whether for criticism or review or otherwise). Fair dealing applies, the work must have been previously made available to the public and must be acknowledged unless it is impractical to do so. 
  • Criticism and review (s30 CDPA) allows you to reproduce part of a copyright work for the purpose of criticism and review in teaching and scholarly works. Fair dealing applies, the work must have been previously made available to the public and must be acknowledged unless it is impractical to do so. 
  • Recording broadcasts (S35 CDPA) allows you to make a recording and play TV and radio broadcasts to students for non-commercial purposes. The recording can be made available to staff and students on and off campus by “secure electronic network access” where a licence does not apply. The work must be acknowledged unless it is impractical to do so. 
  • Playing or showing a film or sound recording for instruction (s34(2) CDPA) allows you to play or show a sound recording, film or broadcast to an audience of staff and/or students on campus for the purpose of instruction. It does not cover streaming to students off campus.


Referencing a work is not sufficient on its own to avoid copyright infringement when using content belonging to third parties. To avoid infringement the use must also be covered by a licence, an exception or bespoke permission or the work must be out of copyright.

However referencing or citation is usually a requirement to comply with a licence or copyright exception.  To rely on the exception of fair dealing with a work for the purposes of illustration for instruction the work used must be accompanied by sufficient acknowledgement unless this would be impossible for reasons of practicality or otherwise. For works licensed under a Creative Commons licence you are required to give appropriate credit and a link to the licence.

Where a licence does not require attribution there are still good reasons for including a reference. Acknowledging the source enables students to understand where materials you have used come from and follow up for themselves.  It can also help prevent false claims of infringement or avoid plagiarism.  

A citation should identify the work by its title or some other description and identify the author. If the rightsholder states in their terms and conditions how their work should be cited then this guidance should be followed. For content licensed under a Creative Commons attribution licence:

For content found online the citation/reference should include the url and the date last accessed. A citation does not necessarily need to appear alongside the work. In a presentation it could be incorporated in an acknowledgements slide at the end of the slideshow.

For audio-visual content you may find the Audiovisual Citation Guidelines from Learning on Screen useful. 

You also may wish to refer to the Library's Referencing Libguide.


Copyright & Licensing Compliance Manager

Where to go for help

If you need more advice on using third party owned materials within teaching resources, please contact 

We can help with your questions or arrange further support.