University of Delaware

Professional & Continuing Studies

Copyright Guidelines for Distance Learning Courses

When it comes to using copyrighted material in the online classroom, the basic interpretation is that “fair use” in the regular classroom is fair use in the video classroom.

There are two major exceptions: the use of films or filmstrips and music. The following paragraph summarizes attorney Paul E. Crawford’s advice on copyright as it pertains to the use of films and audiovisual material in the video classroom.

“The copyright owner’s permission is required before a lecture is transmitted as part of the ITV program if the lecture includes the sequential showing of the whole or substantially the whole of a copy-right audio-visual work or motion picture. Only excerpts, bits and pieces, of such works can be included in the transmission without obtaining copyright permission.”

If you want to use films, video, or music in the ITV classroom, you must obtain written permission. It is very important to confirm copyright clearance for your use of materials on the Internet. Many publishers require special permission to be granted for Internet use. Visit University of Delaware Library’s Resources for Copyright page for additional information.

Requesting Copyright Permission for Your Course

Here are some templates you can use to request copyright permission for your course materials. Please feel free to edit these resources as needed for your course.

  • Sample Request Letter (Microsoft Word format; edit as needed.)
  • Permission Request Form (Microsoft Word format, intended to be completed electronically, then printed out; or can be printed out and completed by hand or with typewriter.)

Text Copyright Assistance

  • Text Packets. For assistance in obtaining copyright permission for text packets, contact Greg Brown, Textbook Manager (, at the University bookstore at 302/831-3089 (or 302/831-8900) with your bibliography. Some copyright holders allow use of material at no charge, but others charge a fee, and these fees are the responsibility of the faculty member.

Videotape/CD-ROM and Music Copyright

  • It is the faculty member’s responsibility to obtain written permission from the copyright holder before using videos in the distance learning classroom.
  • Please note that copyright clearance can take several weeks/months to obtain. Please plan ahead when possible.
  • The University Counsel for Intellectual Property is Brad Yops (byops@UDel.Edu). Contact him at: Office of Vice Provost for Research, 208B Hullihen Hall; Tel.: 302-831-0147.