The law around copyright can be complicated but here are some basic ideas that can help:
Most works are protected by copyright
Almost all creative and intellectual works are protected by copyright. This includes all kinds of works like websites, videos, articles, blogs, etc, etc. Facts, ideas, and processes are not subject to copyright.
Copyright is automatic
Creative and intellectual works do not have to have a copyright notice or be registered to have copyright protections. This means that works upon creation have full and automatic copyright protections.
If something is protected by copyright, you can only use (copy, perform, display, make new works based on) it if you have permission from the copyright owner or your use has to be allowed by one of the exceptions in the law.
Section 107 of the Copyright Act of 1976 describes criteria to be considered when using copyrighted material without the permission of the copyright holder. This exemption is known as "fair use."
Thus, academic uses may qualify as a fair use. There are a few things to be aware of, though:
Keeping those points in mind, the four fair use factors (ALL must be met) provided in Section 107 of the Copyright Act are:
Obtain Permission for Materials Posted to D2L
Online educators frequently post course materials which include articles, book chapters, podcasts and streaming videos on their websites. These postings must be in compliance with copyright law which gives automatic protection to almost everything. To be “safe” it is recommended to assume that everything is copyrighted and to obtain permission from the copyright holder if in doubt.
Use Creative Commons Materials
Another option is to use material with a Creative Commons License. It is also advisable to provide a link to a website rather than copying the material. Of course material that is in the public domain may be used. In general works published prior to 1923 in the U.S. are in the public domain.
Image from University of Minnesota Libraries