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As a faculty member you have both rights and obligations under copyright law. This website is intended to facilitate understanding of the implications of these for teaching, learning and research. The information contained on this website and the relevant university policies are founded on the Copyright Act and decisions of the Supreme Court of Canada. The goals are to balance encouraging access to works with ensuring that the rights of creators are respected and to help both individual faculty members and the university avoid the liabilities that arise from copyright infringement.

The university expends considerable resources to ensure that the latest in scholarship and learning resources is available to you and your students while compensating authors and creators. Chief among these is the library collection, which includes a wide range of digital resources that come with copyright clearances. See electronic resources for information on the use of these resources.

The links on the left side menu of this page provide information for all instructors on applying copyright requirements in the classroom and other learning environments. We also encourage you to familiarize yourself with the guidelines available above. When you have an item in hand or on screen and want a quick guide to decision making, see a step by step guide to copyright.

If you have questions or need clarification please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Copyright in the Classroom

1. Can I make copies of copyright-protected works to hand out to students in class? Can I include copies of another person's images and materials in my PowerPoint presentations?

Yes. Under fair dealing you may make copies of another person's works and hand them out to students enrolled in your course. Under fair dealing you may also include another person's work, including images, in your PowerPoint presentations that you display to students enrolled in your course. In both cases, you must adhere to the amount that may be copied under fair dealing. Please see the Fair Dealing Guidelines for the copying limits.

2. Can I post copies of copyright-protected works to the University of Regina’s course management system (UR Courses)? Can I email copies to students enrolled in my courses?

Yes, you can do either if you adhere to the amount that may be copied under fair dealing. Please see the Fair Dealing Guidelines for the copying limits. The Reading Lists service is available to help you ensure copyright compliance when using UR Courses.

3. Is there any difference between posting something on my own website versus posting something on the University of Regina’s learning management system (UR Courses)?

Yes. Posting something on your own website means you are making the work available world-wide. Wide distribution tends towards the conclusion that the dealing is not “fair” and such uses may not be covered by any University licences. By contrast, the University of Regina’s course management system (UR Courses) is a password protected, secure website accessible only by students enrolled in university courses. In some cases, posting material on UR Courses will be covered by one of the University’s electronic subscriptions. The key thing to remember is just because you may post a copyright-protected work to UR Courses doesn’t mean you have permission to post the work on your own personal website.

4. I've come across a recent journal article that I want to give out to my students. Can I photocopy it and hand it out to them?

Yes. The Fair Dealing Guidelines permit the copying of an entire journal article. Copies may be handed out to the students enrolled in your course or you may scan and post a copy of the article to UR Courses. Keep in mind that allowable use of ejournal articles is governed by a license.

5. May I upload a PDF of a journal article I obtained through the library’s e-journals to the University of Regina’s learning management system (UR Courses) for my students to read?

In some instances the journal article is made available under a license that prohibits posting to UR Courses.  See this site for details about terms of use for specific library journals. The licences for some e-journals provided by the Library allow instructors to upload articles into secure course management systems such as University of Regina’s learning management system (UR Courses). While there may be good reason to upload articles to UR Courses, it is important to consider that doing so may mean that your students do not have the most recent version of the article. It is not unusual for publishers to make corrections or changes, such as adding supplementary material, to articles after initial publication. If such changes are made after a copy has been uploaded they will not be reflected in that copy. A direct link is the best way to ensure access to the most recent version of an article. Linking to the article also allows the Library to track use and obtain data about the importance of a particular journal to the campus. You are free to create a direct link yourself, or you might want the Library to do this for you. As well as saving you time, Library staff will ensure that authentication is taken care of so that your students don’t need to remember to log-in to the Library’s proxy server before going into UR Courses. They will also prepare a “persistent” URL. The publisher’s URL for many articles can change from day to day; a persistent URL will ensure that your students get to the right articles quickly and without frustration. If you have any questions about your intended use of library licensed electronic material, please ask library staff for help.

6. May I scan a print journal article or a book chapter into a PDF and post it on University of Regina’s learning management system (UR Courses).

As long as you adhere to the amounts that may be copied under fair dealing you may scan and post it on UR Courses. Please see the Fair Dealing Guidelines for the copying limits. It’s important to note that fair dealing does not allow you to scan material and add it to a website unless that website is password protected (e.g. UR Courses) and restricted to students enrolled in your course. The Reading Lists service is available to help you ensure copyright compliance when using UR Courses.

7. Can I copy proprietary or specialized materials?

Under the principles of fair dealing copying of specialized materials like workbooks, survey tools, tests or examination papers, or business cases should be much more limited given the nature of the work. Copying more than a few sentences should be with permission only.

8. Can students perform a musical work in class?

Yes, the Copyright Act permits the performance, primarily by students of the university, of a musical work on the premises of the university for educational or training purposes before an audience consisting primarily of students and/or instructors.

9. Can I play music in class?

Yes! The Copyright Act allows you to play a sound recording or live radio broadcasts in class as long as it is for educational purposes, not for profit, on University premises, before an audience consisting primarily of students. However, if you want to use music for non-educational purposes, for example, for background music at a conference or in an athletic facility, a licence must be obtained from the copyright collectives SOCAN and Re:Sound.

10. Can I play videos in class? You may play videos in class in the following circumstances:

You may show a film or other cinematographic work in the classroom as long as the work is not an infringing copy, the film or work was legally obtained, and you do not circumvent a digital lock to access the film or work. If you want to show a television news program in the classroom, under the Copyright Act, educational institutions (or those acting under their authority) may copy television news programs or news commentaries and play them in class. You may perform a work available through the Internet, e.g. YouTube, videos, except under the following circumstances:

  • You may perform a work available through the Internet, e.g. YouTube, videos, except under the following circumstances:
  • The work is protected by digital locks preventing their performance.
  •  A clearly visible notice prohibiting educational use is posted on the website or on the work itself.
  • You have reason to believe that the work available on the internet is in violation of the copyright owner’s rights.

11. What about using my own iTunes videos or my Netflix account?

Netflix is a commercial service provided to individual end users – not the university. Therefore, your use of Netflix or iTunes must comply with the terms of use you agreed to when you signed up for the service. Classroom use would almost certainly not qualify as “household use” or “personal use. The rights you may otherwise have had, for example the educational exception found in section 29.5 of the Copyright Act, or exceptions under fair dealing, do not apply if they are inconsistent with the Netflix and iTunes Terms of Use.

12. What if the book I want to copy from is out of print?

Being out of print does not mean a work is not protected by copyright. The same criteria for copying apply to out of print as in print books.

13. Is it okay to use images or other material from the Internet for educational purposes?

It depends on what you want to do. Materials on the internet are treated the same under copyright law as any other copyright materials, so if you want to use them, they have to either fall within one of the Copyright Act's exceptions (such as fair dealing or the educational use of the Internet exception), or be open access or in the public domain. If what you want to use isn't from an open access or public domain source and does not fall into one of the Act's exceptions you will have to obtain permission from the copyright owner. You should check the website's "Terms of Use", or "Legal Notices" section to confirm what conditions apply to use of the website's material, including whether educational use is explicitly prohibited. See educational use of the Internet for more details.

14. Do I need to ask permission to link to a website?

Content on the web is copyrighted in the same way as print and other formats, even if there is no copyright symbol or notice. Linking directly to the web page containing the content you wish to use is almost always permissible, although you need to make sure the content you are linking to is not in itself infringing copyright. In addition, if the web page does not clearly identify the website and content owner, you should also include the full details of the author, copyright owner and source of the materials by the link. This will avoid any suggestion that the website is your own material or that your website is somehow affiliated with the other site. If you have reason to believe that the web site may contain content posted without the permission of the copyright owner, you should avoid linking to it. In addition, you must comply with web site statements indicating that permission is required before material is reproduced or that it may not be reproduced at all. Such statements are typically found in sections titled terms of use or something similar.

15. Can students use copyrighted materials in their assignments and presentations?

Generally yes, provided the use fits within the fair dealing guidelines. While online collaboration to complete projects can be a great learning exercise, students should not be posting copies of third-party materials to publicly-accessible websites or file-sharing sites unless fair dealing applies to the use. See also: User Generated Content.

16. What about using images on posters or websites?

Unless images are obtained from the public domain or royalty free sources, you should seek permission for their use. An open website or poster displayed in a public place is considered communication to the public and so fair dealing provisions and other educational exceptions don’t necessarily apply.

17. Are documents created by the government automatically in the public domain?

No. All government documents created in Canada are protected by copyright. Federal, territorial and provincial government documents are protected by Crown copyright and the term of Crown copyright is 50 years after the date of publication. Municipal government documents are not covered by Crown copyright, but instead fall under the normal copyright term of life of the creator plus 50 years. For more information about Crown Copyright, please see

18. If something is in a library database I can distribute it to students in any way I want, right?

Not necessarily. Each database has terms and conditions that govern the use of the content, and certain uses or means of sharing with students may be restricted. The best approach is to use a permanent link that points students to the resource inside the library database. See the linking e-resources tab on the left side menu for details.

19. I gave a PowerPoint presentation in class which includes figures, charts, diagrams and other images from a textbook.Can I post it on University of Regina’s course management system (UR Courses)? I’ll be sure to cite where the figures came from.

As long as you adhere to the amounts that may be copied under fair dealing you may post charts and diagrams from textbooks, or other works, on UR Courses. If for example, you wish to post multiple images from a book, you may do so as long as those images amount to no more than 10% of the book (see the Fair Dealing Guidelines). It’s important to note that if you wish to post such material to a website that website must be password protected or otherwise restricted to students enrolled in your course. Please note that just because you acknowledge the author and source of a work doesn’t mean you won’t be liable for copyright infringement. Acknowledging the source is no defence if the way in which you’ve used the work is not permitted under the Copyright Act. So make sure you either fall within an exception or have the copyright owner’s permission.

20. May I post examples of my students’ work on the University of Regina’s course management system (UR Courses) or on my personal website?

Only if you have the student’s permission.  You should ask students in advance whether they consent to have their work posted online and keep written records of the permissions given.

21. I adopted a textbook for my course, and the textbook representative provided me with instructor support materials, including images, PowerPoint slides, etc. Can I distribute those materials to my students in paper or post them to University of Regina’s course management system (UR Courses)?

You will need to check with your textbook representative for further information on this matter, except for the publishers listed below who have granted the University of Regina specific permissions to use their copyrighted works.

Copyright and Library Reserves

What kind of print materials will the library accept for reserve?

If you wish to place physical copies of materials in the library's reserve collection, original works such as published books, printed journal issues, and films or recordings in their original cases are generally preferred. Any reproductions of works you wish to place in the reserve collection must be published as an open access work, covered by an institutional license, qualify as fair dealing, or have permission from the copyright owner. For content in library databases, use a permanent link that points students to the resource inside the library database rather than placing a print copy on reserve. See the “linking e-resources” tab on the left side menu for details.

Can I place a copy of an article I have in my personal files on reserve for my students to read even if the library doesn’t own or have access to that title? Probably. Provided the copy you have is a non-infringing copy it can be placed on reserve. However, if the copy you have was printed from an electronic database, the terms and conditions of that database may prohibit any further copying or distribution.

If you wish to place a coursepack on reserve, you will need to ensure that permission for this is included in the permissions received during the coursepack production process.

Linking E-Resources

The library subscribes to a wide range of electronic resources that have been licensed for use by faculty and students. Rather than downloading a copy from the database and then uploading it to UR Courses (or printing it to hand out), providing a persistent link directly to the content in the database or e-journal can be more efficient for you and your students. Also, some databases have restrictions on posting downloads to a course management system; a problem that persistent links solve. Further, linking to the article also allows the library to track use and obtain data about the importance of a particular journal to the university community. A persistent link will always point to a specific resource within a particular database and always complies with the terms of use. Library staff would be happy to assist you with creating persistent links. Please e-mail to take advantage of this service.

If you wish to do it yourself, the following directions will help you create your own persistent links:

A persistent link is not just the URL that’s in the address bar of your browser when you retrieve an item from an online database. So don’t just copy and paste the address in the address bar at the top of your screen – it won't work. It might seem like it works when you test it, but (for a range of technical reasons we won't get in to) it won't work when you or your students go back and try it another day.

Instead, always looks look for the persistent URL icon or link in the database (also called PURL, Stable URL, Document URL, DOI, InfoMark – it depends on the database). The "cheatsheet" at the bottom of this page shows you the name/location of the persistent URL in some of our most commonly used databases/journal platforms. But feel free to ask if you need help locating the persistent URL in the database/journal you are trying to link to.

Once you have identified the persistent URL for the article or other item you want to link, add the following prefix to the persistent URL (unless, of course, it already appears automatically at the beginning of the link) and you will have a functioning persistent link.

So for example, if I want to link to an article for which the persistent URL is:

I need to add the prefix above to this persistent URL so that it will work for all students, regardless of whether they are on or off campus. The final link (which I could add to URCourses) would look like this:

Persistent URL Cheatsheet (1 MB pdf)

Step by Step Guide to Copyright

Copyright is an important but complex issue to navigate. If you are uncertain about how to ensure your use of materials is appropriate, this guide will help you with some basic questions to consider as you decide whether to copy.
Click herePDF(57 kb) for a visual flow chart version of this step by step guide

1. Is the material protected by copyright? Copyright automatically subsists in every original literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic work from the moment it is created. In most cases copyright protection lasts for the life of the author plus 50 years. Copyright also subsists in other works such as performer’s performances, sound recordings, and broadcast signals, where the clock starts running from the first performance. See copyright basics regarding the term of copyright protection. Once copyright has expired, materials enter the public domain and can be used without any restrictions. See public domain flowchart.

2. Is the intended act a “substantial use” of the material? The protections afforded by the Copyright Act only apply when a “substantial” portion of a work is used (s. 3 of the act). See copyright basics for a discussion of what constitutes a substantial portion.

3. Has the library acquired a licence for use at U of R? In most cases you will quickly move past the first two steps as copyright protection applies to most of the copying activities typical in an educational context. However, the library licenses a significant range of materials for use at the University. Permission and payment for the use of copyright protected works are a part of library licences, and this is the primary way that the University compensates copyright owners for the use of their works. Once you have determined that copyright protection applies, your next step should be to check the library’s collection. If it is licensed by the library you should also ensure that the kind of use you intend is permitted by the terms of use for that licence. See electronic resources for further information on terms of use for specific e-journals or databases. In many cases the best approach to sharing digital materials with students is the use of persistent links, which you can learn about at linking e-resources.

4. Is the use fair dealing or another user’s right established by the Copyright Act? In the context of education there are a number user’s rights that allow for copying without the need to seek permission. Chief among these is fair dealing; see fair dealing guidelines. There are also allowances for the educational use of content posted on the Internet and performance of certain kinds of works in a classroom. See the copyright in the classroom page for more information on these allowable uses.

5. Has the copyright holder authorized public use? Some creators will release their work under an open access or creative commons licence, which essentially are a form of advance permission for certain uses. If the work has one of these kinds of licences attached, you can make any use of the material that its terms of use allow.

6. None of the above apply, now what? If none of the above options cover the copying you have in mind, then you will need to seek permission from the copyright owner. See the permissions page for more details on this process.