Center for Learning, Experimentation, Application, and Research

Textbook Publisher Copyright Permissions Guide

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Requesting Permission to Use Supplementary Digital Materials in Online Courses

Periodically, we hear of professors receiving verbal approval from their textbook publisher representative to upload supplementary digital materials into their online course.  There are two problems with this.  First, the representatives usually function in mainly a sales/customer service capacity and have no legally binding authority to enter into such a contractual agreement on their company's behalf.  Second, the Terms of Use and Copyright Policy posted on most publishers’ web sites are in clear deviation from this kind of verbal permission.  In fact, every major textbook publisher (i.e., McGraw-Hill, Pearson, Prentice Hall, SAGE, and Wiley) has a business process and specific contacts, if not an entire department, dedicated to managing permission requests.  An educational institution need only request permission to upload digital materials for student access.

The good news is that DSI CLEAR is happy to submit requests to publishers on your behalf.  We do this as a normal course of business and have the processes down to a science.  We usually hear back within a week or two, and have yet to see such a request rejected.

Please Note:  Not all textbook publisher materials and services are accessible.  Before using a file or online service, provided by a publisher, in your online course, please ensure it is fully accessible.  For assistance with this, please submit an accessibility consultation request.

Modifying Publishers' Supplementary Digital Materials

While textbook publishers are usually perfectly comfortable formally granting permission to share supplementary digital materials with students (via the process referenced above), they are extremely reticent to permit educators and support staff to modify their slides, outlines, notes, and other supplementary materials.  We have asked more than one publisher for this permission and have been consistently denied.  This is a matter of quality assurance on their part.  If their name is on the materials, they want to control the quality of those materials.  As such, please refrain from modifying slides and other publisher material.

Sharing Cengage Supplementary Materials - Per Their Unique Terms of Use

While all the aforementioned publishers require a request of specific permission in order to share supplementary digital materials with students, Cengage has a unique approach.  Their Terms of Use permit this kind of sharing of supplementary materials, but instead of requesting permission, the educational institution need only add the Cengage Terms of Use to the course itself in such a way that the student must first agree to the terms before accessing the materials.

DSI CLEAR handles this addition to online courses on instructors' behalf.  If you wish to use Cengage slides or other supplementary materials in your online course, please let us know and we will add the Cengage Terms of Use to your course in a special way so that students must agree to the terms in order to access the materials.

Requesting Assistance with Publisher Permissions

Please email us at CLEAR.Compliance@unt.edu to request the inclusion of a Cengage Terms of Use agreement or the submission of a publisher permissions request for your course.