Copyright and Teaching in the Classroom
The Copyright Act includes a number of exceptions which allow instructors to use copyright materials in the classroom. Here you’ll find some common questions, and answers, about what you can do in class. If your question isn't answered here, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit Brock’s Copyright FAQ.
May I include other people’s images and materials in classroom presentations?
Yes! Under an exception in the Copyright Act, you may make copies of works to display in class for educational purposes. So including images, figures and other materials in your slides is covered.
May I show films in class?
Yes! Under an exception in the Copyright Act, you may play films in class provided it is for educational purposes, not-for-profit, and before an audience of consisting primarily of students. You must however ensure that the copy of the film you are showing is not an infringing copy or there are no reasonable grounds for believing it is infringing. So no pirated DVDs or illegally downloaded blockbusters!
What about online videos?
Under a new exception to the Copyright Act, you have the right to play videos in class that you find on the Internet, provided:
- the video appears to have been posted legitimately (i.e. with the consent of the copyright owner);
- there is no clearly visible notice on the video or the website prohibiting you from playing the video in class;
- there is no technological protection measure preventing you from accessing or copying the video (e.g. it's not on a password-protected website);
- and when you play it in class, you acknowledge the author and source of the video.
Some websites will also grant you express rights to perform their videos in class – for example, TED Talks are made available under a Creative Commons licence which expressly allows public performance of the talks for non-commercial purposes, provided credit is given.
May I give print handouts of journal articles and other materials to students?
Is it a book chapter? Under the University’s Fair Dealing Policy, you can distribute copies of a single chapter from a book or up to 10% of a book to students.
Is it an article? If it comes from the Library’s ejournal collections, you’ll need to check the Library’s licence database to confirm whether the licence allows print distribution. If the article isn’t owned by the Library, you may copy and distribute one article per issue under the Fair Dealing Policy.
Is it something else – e.g. material from the Internet? Under a new exception to the Copyright Act, you have the right to distribute materials that you find on the Internet to students, provided:
· the material appears to have been posted legitimately (i.e. with the consent of the copyright owner);
· there is no clearly visible notice on the material or the website prohibiting you from doing so;
· there is no technological protection measure preventing you from accessing or copying the material (e.g. it's not on a password-protected website);
· you acknowledge the author and source of the material.
May I play music in class?
Yes! An exception in the Copyright Act allows you to play sound recordings and live radio broadcasts in class for educational purposes, not-for-profit, before an audience consisting primarily of students. Just make sure any sound recordings are not infringing copies (no illegally downloaded music!).
Classrooms can and should be a place where copyright materials are shared freely to provide an optimal educational experience.
Fortunately, due to a number of exceptions in the Copyright Act, most of what you want to do in class should be possible.