Copyright for teaching at VU: Social Media

What are 'Internet Resources'

For copyright purposes 'internet resources' are any materials retrieved from the world wide web, such as:

  • Material sourced from public websites
  • Social Media
  • Wikis & Blogs 

Using social media for teaching

In this section you will find information regarding copyright as it applies to social media, which includes user generated content.  Material found on the internet including social media platforms is subject to copyright. It is also critical to check the terms and conditions for use that may apply on any given internet or social media site.

Key points

The key points when using social media for teaching are:

  • Copyright applies to material found on social media platforms, including user-generated content
  • The creation of mashups and memes can create copyright issues as the underlying content may have copyright owners
  • Using an important or distinctive part (a “substantial part”) of another person’s material to create a mashup or meme will require copyright permission
  • If using third party material for satire or parody it is allowed under the “fair dealing” exemption.  The use must be considered fair
  • User generated content such as memes and mashups will be protected by copyright in their own right.

What you can do


  • Use material made available under a suitable Creative Commons or similar licence
  • Use material that is owned by VU
  • Use material that is no longer protected by copyright or is in the public domain
  • Use material for which you have permission from the copyright owner.

What you can't do


  • Download and use whole works for teaching unless they are in the public domain or have a Creative Commons licence
  • View commercial films or videos if not using for teaching in a classroom. If available on YouTube you must check copyright status
  • Use material from someone's social media site without checking terms and conditions of use.  You may need permission.