Top Hat Authoring: Copyright FAQs

If you're working with us to author and sell content through Top Hat, you'll want to ensure the content that the material that you incorporate into that content does not infringe on anyone else’s copyright. Please note that these Copyright FAQs is provided as a tool for educational purposes and it is not legal advice or intended to be not an exhaustive list of copyright issues, rules or regulations, but it should give you a good start as you work on your project. As copyright infringement can carry serious consequences, we recommend that you seek independent legal advice on your project.

Q: Who owns the copyright to content I produce on the Top Hat platform?
A: You retain the copyright (or the exclusive legal right to print or publish material, and to authorize others to do the same) to all content you produce, and are responsible for making sure your work does not infringe on anyone else’s copyright. Please see the Author terms for additional information on this. Copyright is the exclusive legal right, given to an originator or an assignee to print or publish material, and to authorize others to do the same.

Q: Can I use, modify or incorporate pictures I found online in my own content?
A: Pictures available online may still be subject to copyright protection. There are a number of ways that you can reduce copyright infringement when selecting images found online:

  1. Contact the original owner of the image and ask for permission/a license
  2. Search for Creative Commons and Public Domain images – there are dedicated websites with this content. You can also use standard search engines like Yahoo and Google to filter for Creative Commons content.

Q: What is Creative Commons?
A: Creative Commons is a not-for-profit body that provides standardized copyright licenses enabling copyright holders to give the public permission to share and use their creative works on conditions of the copyright holder’s choice. See further:

Q: How do I use the Creative Commons search tool?

  1. Visit
  2. Make sure the ‘use for commercial purposes’ box is checked

  1. Select the website you’d like to search (e.g. Google Images)
  2. Enter your search query and review the results
  3. Gather the important information about any images you want to use:
  • Attribution information
  • Creative Commons license information
  • Creative Commons license link
  • Link to image
  • Download or screen capture of image file saved to your computer
  • Upload image to Pages in Top Hat and include relevant information. Here’s an example:
  1. Insert a reference such as “[2]” in the image caption:

  1. At the end of your chapter, insert image credits linking out to both the image link and the license:


Q: I found a video on YouTube, can I put it (or a part of it) in my content?
A: That depends on who owns the copyright to the material in the video and the terms that they grant to users (you will need to refer to YouTube’s Terms of Service for this). If a copyright holder uploads a video to YouTube, they are granting access to the video to YouTube users on YouTube’s terms and conditions and, subject to YouTube’s terms, you can embed their video in your work. The same applies to media companies who uploaded their own content to their own channel on YouTube. You can look for the ‘verified’ checkmark symbol as a way to identify legitimate media sources (i.e. ). If a video contains media (film, audio or TV clip) but was uploaded by a third party, it should NOT be used in your content without that third party’s permission.

Q: I’ve made my own videos; can I make them exclusively available through my content in Top Hat?
A: Yes! Videos in Top Hat need to be hosted on either YouTube or Vimeo. In YouTube, you can set the Privacy Settings to “Unlisted”, which will allow it to play in your content, but prevent it from being viewable by anyone who doesn’t have a link. For more details, click here. In Vimeo, you will need a Plus or PRO account to hide your video from You can read more here. By uploading your videos to Vimeo or YouTube, you are agreeing to the YouTube or Vimeo terms and conditions.

Q: Can I include articles/blog posts in my content?
A: Not without the permission of the copyright owners. However, when you ask, you will find that linking out to those articles/blogs with correct attribution is often encouraged by the copyright owner!