PowerPoint presentations are a very common teaching resource, routinely shown in class and often provided to students in the form of hardcopy handouts or as downloads from teaching websites such as Learn.UQ (Blackboard). This Guide provides a summary of the rules and limits applying to the majority of likely UQ teaching uses.

Unless otherwise indicated, permitted uses include showing in class, providing hardcopy or electronic handouts and making available for download from Learn.UQ (Blackboard), either as a stand-alone file or as part of a Lectopia lecture recording download. Please note that this is not a guide to the permitted use of images in other settings, such as conferences or commercial or public gatherings, where substantially different rules apply.

What images may I use?

Identification of images

Images incorporated into presentations should always be sufficiently identified. A small subscript should succinctly identify each image by, for example, author, title or web page name. A fuller bibliographic description of individual sources should appear at the end of the PowerPoint.

The reasons for proper identification are at least twofold – first, there is always a moral right of authors to have their names associated with their work, and this includes images. Secondly, the University from time to time is required to identify material, including images, that it has reproduced pursuant to its statutory licences. This permits distribution of royalties.

Image source

The source of an image is the key to understanding the rules for its potential use:

  • Scanned from hardcopy book or journal – images may be used so long as they are not separately commercially available (which would be very unusual).
  • Taken from the ‘free’ Web (i.e. sites to which access is not governed by express licence terms) – images may be used (there is no equivalent commercial availability test).

    An important caveat to the use of images from the ‘free’ Web is that individual images should not be used if there is any suspicion that the image is made available on the Web, or located on a particular site on the Web, in breach of copyright.
  • Taken from a licensed online journal or database subscribed to by the University Library – inclusion in a PowerPoint is permitted.
  • Taken from other licensed website (e.g. where access is via a lecturer’s own subscription or membership) – the site terms and conditions should be readily accessible on the site and will specify the permitted uses of material found there.
  • Taken from an “Instructor’s Resource CD” – the licence terms and conditions are to be found on the packaging that originally contained the CD. Although the terms and conditions vary, it would be an exception that did not permit inclusion of images in a teaching PowerPoint given that is one of the usual purposes of such “resources”.

    Licences will almost certainly prohibit copying the CD’s content to the Web, but this prohibition can reasonably be interpreted as not intended to prevent the recording and uploading to Learn.UQ (Blackboard) (via Lectopia) of a PowerPoint presentation that includes resource images.
  • Taken from a commercial slide collection – contact the copyright team to discuss individual cases.

Copyright advice and support

If you have any questions about Copyright, Creative Commons, or any other IP realted topic, please contact James Lewandowski-Cox, the University Copyright Officer.