Yale University is committed to creating and maintaining active environments for innovation. For many - particularly as it relates to teaching and learning - sharing digital content is a critical component to innovation. While Yale encourages and supports such innovation, we must remind the University community that all activities that involve the use of content created by, or featuring images or personal information about, others must comply with copyright and privacy laws as well as applicable University policy.
Copyright law governs (among other activities) the copying, displaying, and sharing of works including in digital form. While the law permits use of copyrighted material without permission from the copyright holder in certain educational contexts (such as in-class teaching and “fair use,” as defined by copyright law), educational uses typically exempted in traditional classroom settings may not be permitted in all cases in digital environments and may require the permission of the copyright holder.
An individual’s right to not have his or her image, voice, performance and personal information shared with others without the individual’s permission is protected by a system of federal and state laws. For example, the privacy of student education records is protected by the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA). With few exceptions, FERPA restricts the University, its employees and other school officials from releasing or sharing student educational records, or information from such records, without the student’s written consent. Information and materials of students shared on or submitted through digital educational tools may be protected under FERPA. Similarly, the confidentiality and security of personal health information is protected by the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). Each person who handles protected health information must be aware of their obligations under the HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules. Most digital educational tools should never be used for sharing any electronic health information protected under HIPAA. Please refer to hipaa.yale.edu and contact the University’s HIPAA Privacy Office (firstname.lastname@example.org) to find out if a specific tool meets all the requirements for sharing electronic health information.