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Copyright for Brightspace

Uploading content to a shared electronic environment such as Brightspace, where it can be accessed and downloaded by staff and students needs the copyright owner's explicit permission, or  a licence or a relevant statutory exception to copyright covering the content, purpose and end users. 

This applies to all copyright material, even to 'free to view' content online.

As part of its audit programme, the Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA) may ask to inspect University systems including Brightspace, to monitor compliance with the terms of the CLA Higher Education Licence.

It is important to make sure you are sharing content legally, to avoid you or the University being liable for breach of contract or copyright infringement.

The following information will help you work out whether the content you wish to use is covered and what you need to do. You can also find answers to some common questions about using content in Brightspace in our Library FAQs or ask your own.  

Books and journals

Extracts from books and journals should not be uploaded to Brightspace. Instead, these should be requested through the Library's reading lists team which prepares digital extracts for educational use in line with copyright and licensing regulations.

The Library will verify whether an extract is licensed or excluded for use in Brightspace (or other e-learning environment) using the CLA's Check Permissions tool and advise accordingly. For more information, see:

Electronic books and journals

As e-books and e-journals are already available in digital format, we recommend that a hyperlink to the content you need is added to the online reading list for the course or module. You should follow the resource's policy on hyperlinking, where there is one. Although many e-resources allow hyperlinking at article level, there are some notable exceptions, such as Harvard Business Review, so make sure to check first.

We will not normally obtain content we subscribe to electronically as digital readings because of the ongoing administration required to maintain them. However, we may do so, where the Higher Education Copyright Licence is more generous than the permissions in the subscription agreement. If this is not sufficient for your needs, we can advise further.

Using hyperlinks allows each view or download to be recorded, allowing the Library and content providers to better measure usage, relevance and value for money of our e-resources.

Web content

As with e-books and e-journals, there should be little need to reproduce most web content: a hyperlink should be enough. However, web content is sometimes removed, so there are occasions where it may be necessary to download content to make it available over a longer period for teaching and learning needs. 

Before doing so, you must first check the website for a copyright statement, usage terms, or a licence authorising copying for educational purposes. If it does not have one, or does not allow it, the Library's Reading Lists team can check whether the website is covered under the CLA Licence. Alternatively, you can contact the website / copyright owner directly for permission.

The CLA Licence covers the use of some free-to-view websites for teaching and learning. CLA licensed websites will appear in the Check Permissions tool, and the Licence can be used for copying, if the website does not already authorise or license the copying itself.


The University holds a licence from the Educational Recording Agency (ERA) which covers the use of off-air recordings of televised broadcasts, and some on-demand broadcasts (eg from BBC iPlayer) in lectures and seminars.

These off-air recordings can also be made available in fixed format (DVD or VHS) in the Library.  However, due to limitations in the rights held by the licensor, the ERA Licence is unable to cover the use of off-air broadcasts in Brightspace, unless it is technically possible to restrict access and viewing to those who are physically located on campus.