Q: Are my class materials protected by copyright?
A: Generally, instructors at StFX own the copyright in the teaching materials they create, e.g., lecture notes, PowerPoint presentations, course syllabi, and lectures.
StFX instructors may wish to consider adding the following statement to their printed syllabi and Moodle course pages for their students:
These course materials are designed for use in Course XXX at StFX University and are the property of the instructor, unless otherwise stated by the instructor. Copying this material for distribution, online posting, or selling of this material to third parties without permission is subject to Canadian Copyright Law and is strictly prohibited.
Q: May I copy a page/pages, chapter/chapters, or diagram/diagrams from a textbook to share with my class?
A: Under current copyright guidelines, it is permissible to reproduce works (both digital and hard copy) for research, private study, education, criticism, satire and news reporting using fair dealing.
Q: May I use copyrighted images and materials in PowerPoint presentations or overhead projections?
A: Yes! You may include copyrighted material in your classroom presentations without having to get permission. Under the educational exception in the Copyright Act, you may make copies of works to display on the University's premises for educational purposes, provided there is no commercially available version of the work in a medium that is appropriate for the purpose. If you want to project copyrighted works in a PowerPoint presentation outside of the University or post the presentation online, this likely falls under the fair dealing exception (provided your use can be characterized as ‘fair’).
Q: May I distribute photocopied journal articles in class?
A: It depends, but often yes.
Whether you can distribute journal articles in class depends on the journal:
- If the journal is not under a StFX library license or you are copying from a print journal from the Library or a personal copy, you could copy and distribute the article either under Fair Dealing, provided your use falls within the appropriate limits.
Q: May I email copyrighted material to students?
A: It depends, but often yes! Emailing copyrighted material to your students may be covered by fair dealing or a University license. It is strongly recommended that you email a link to the article rather than a copy, or post the copy on a secure site such as Moodle or Blackboard.
Q: May I play copyrighted music in class?
A: Yes! The Copyright Act allows you to play a recording or live radio broadcast in class as long as it is for educational purposes, not-for-profit, before an audience consisting primarily of students.
Q: May I show a film in class?
A: Yes! The Copyright Act now includes the right for educational institutions to play films on University premises, provided it is for educational purposes, not-for-profit, before an audience consisting primarily of students and educators, and provided the work is not an infringing copy or the person responsible for the performance has no reasonable grounds to believe it is an infringing copy.
Q: May I show a television program in class?
A: It depends. You may:
- copy a television news program at the time of its broadcast and then play that copy in class under the Copyright Act (previously, you could only play it within a year of the broadcast). However, documentaries and films are not covered by this exception.
- play a DVD of a television program, provided the DVD is not an infringing copy or you have no reasonable grounds for believing it is an infringing copy;
- record and play excerpts from a television program under the fair dealing exception.
Please note: Under a new exception in the Copyright Act, you have the right to play in class materials that you find on the Internet, subject to certain exceptions and limitations. So, if you find a television program online, you may play the program in class, provided:
- the program appears to have been posted legitimately (i.e. with the consent of the copyright owner),
- there is no clearly visible notice on the program or the website prohibiting you from playing the program in class,
- there is no technological protection measure preventing you from accessing or copying the material (e.g. it's not on a password-protected website), and
- when you play it in class, you acknowledge the TV production company and the website.
Q: May I show YouTube videos in class?
A: Under a new exception in the Copyright Act (see section 30.04), 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,
- when you play it in class, you acknowledge the author and source of the video.
It is important to check all videos posted on the Internet carefully for information regarding their use. If permission is not granted on a page then you must try to obtain permission. YouTube videos can be used if the copyright owner uploaded the video onto YouTube. If it is a commercial or television program on YouTube then any use of this will likely be an infringement of copyright. Check Copyright on YouTube for more information.
Q: May I reformat a video/film into a digital format for presentation or distribution?
A: If you remain within the limits of fair dealing you can copy limited portions of a video for viewing in class. However, there is no allowance in the current copyright law that will allow reformatting of complete films for classroom viewing.
Q: Is it permissible for students to use copyrighted materials in assignments and presentations?
A: Yes! Under the fair dealing exception, students may use works for the purpose of research, private study, criticism, review, or education. So, provided the student is including the work for one of these purposes, and acknowledges the author and source of the material, and the use could be characterized as fair, it will likely be covered by the fair dealing exception.
Q: Are there any exceptions to copyright rules for sharing materials with students with perceptual disabilities?
A: There are exceptions for those with perceptual disabilities, for instance, they or those acting on their behalf can:
(a) make a copy or sound recording of a literary, musical, artistic or dramatic work, other than a cinematographic work, in a format specially designed for persons with a perceptual disability;
(b) translate, adapt or reproduce in sign language a literary or dramatic work, other than a cinematographic work, in a format specially designed for persons with a perceptual disability; or
(c) perform in public a literary or dramatic work, other than a cinematographic work, in sign language, either live or in a format specially designed for persons with a perceptual disability.
Q: Are there copyright-free educational materials I may use in the classroom?
A: Yes! There is a wealth of material which is either in the public domain or available under Creative Commons licensing, which generally means the work is available for free, subject to certain limited conditions, such as non-commercial use only and acknowledgment of the author. All Creative Commons licensed works can be used in teaching.
Creative Commons: directories of audio, video, image and text materials available under Creative Commons licensing
Project Gutenberg: the largest collection of copyright-free books online
Internet Archive : text and multimedia
Flickr Creative Commons: images available under Creative Commons licensing
morgueFile: free photo image archive
Incompetech (royalty-free music)
Musopen (music, sheet music).
For public domain material, you can also search online by typing the phrase "public domain" and the kind of material you’re interested in. Or you can use Google’s “Advanced Image Search” – simply use the 'usage rights' filter and select ‘images labeled for reuse’.
Q: If I have adopted a textbook for my class, what are the options for making it available to my students?
A: Textbook adoptions are submitted to the Campus Store at scheduled times throughout the year. You can specify to have your textbook available in any version in which the Publisher has made it available including: hard copy, soft copy, loose-leaf copy, digital copy, or e-book copy. For more information, see Faculty Information on the Campus Store website.
In addition, you may want to consider using Open Textbooks - see the Open Textbooks page at BCcampus.