Your responsibilities

When you use video resources from the Internet, you have certain responsibilities.

  • It is up to you, the user, to find out if and how you may use the resource without violating copyright law.
  • The owner(s) of a resource have rights over how it is used, and you are legally obliged to respect these rights.
  • The issues of ownership and copyright mean you may have to pay to use the resource, or obtain permission to use it, or credit it in a particular way.
  • There may also be constraints on how you can use the material, for example in what context you may use it, how many times you may use it, how you may manipulate the video and whether you can embed or link to it.

Copyright for video resources

The issue of copyright surrounding video resources can be complicated. However, there are some excellent free resources available to help you check or develop your understanding.

Have a look at some of the following:

Jisc Legal: Intellectual Property Rights

Jisc Digital Media

Licences and Licensing

A number of licensing schemes exist for video resources. We're going to look at two in more detail:

  • Creative Commons
  • ERA & ERA+

Creative Commons

Creative Commons is a not-for-profit organisation that has defined and introduced a system of licensing written in plain, non-technical language.

Prior to Creative Commons a gulf existed between:

  • full copyright protection (where almost no use is allowed without permission)
  • public domain (where permission is not required at all)

Creative Commons defines and clarifies the spectrum of possibilities between full copyright (all rights reserved) and the public domain (no rights reserved).

Creative Commons licences can enable people to copy, distribute, use and alter works according to the particular strength of licence associated with them without having to contact copyright owners. Creators/owners choose a set of conditions they wish to apply to their work:

  • Attribution.
    You let others copy, distribute, display, and perform your copyrighted work - and derivative works based upon it - but only if they give credit the way you request.
  • Noncommercial.
    You let others copy, distribute, display, and perform your work - and derivative works based upon it - but for noncommercial purposes only.
  • No Derivative Works.
    You let others copy, distribute, display, and perform only verbatim copies of your work, not derivative works based upon it.
  • Share Alike.
    You allow others to distribute derivative works only under a license identical to the license that governs your work.

To view the more information on these licences visit Creative Commons: Licence Your Work


When using any media provided under a Creative Commons licence be careful to evaluate the work you find. It is not uncommon for people to upload content that is not their own work which they do not have permission to use.

ERA and ERA+

The Educational Recording Agency license (ERA) permits staff at licensed educational establishments to record and distribute via secure networks the broadcast output of ERA members, for non-commercial educational purposes. Your institution will require a licence if you wish to use recordings of broadcasts as teaching resources.

Most educational establishments in the UK are already covered by an ERA licence. If you are unsure whether your institution is covered by the ERA licence, please check with library staff.

What can be recorded?

The ERA scheme permits recordings of broadcasts to be made for non-commercial educational use. A 'broadcast' is defined as a transmission for simultaneous and lawful reception by members of the public such as:

  • BBC television and radio
  • ITV Network services (including ITV2 and ITV3)
  • Channel Four, E4, More 4 and Film 4
  • Five Television
  • S4C

The ERA+ Licence

The ERA licence allows the use of licensed broadcast recordings, but only within the licensed institution's campus. The ERA+ licence extends this use to secure networks off-campus by staff and students studying or working at home, or anywhere within the UK.

Last modified: Monday, 31 March 2014, 11:30 AM