Your responsibilities

When you use audio 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 permission 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 resource, for example in what context you may use it, how many time you may use it, how you may manipulate the audio track and whether you can embed or link to it.

Copyright for audio resources

The issues of copyright surrounding audio 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


Jisc-Casper is the copyright advice & support project for Jisc e-learning resources.

Licences and Licensing

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 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.

Last modified: Monday, 31 March 2014, 11:47 AM