Generally, it is not permitted for you to post copyright-protected materials openly online without permission from the copyright owner. Posting materials online constitutes republishing or distributing the materials and only the copyright holder has the right to engage in those activities. Instead of posting a copy of others’ work online, link to it when possible or add a citation for the work so that it can be accessed legally. Works that have more lenient terms of use, such as open access and Creative Commons-licenced works, can be shared openly online for non-commercial purposes as long as the works are cited.

For more details, and for a table of copyright-friendly image sources, please visit our posting materials online webpage.

Movies, films and television programs may be played, without permission, for students on the premise of an educational institution under the following conditions:

  • the copy of the audio/video is legally obtained;
  • the audio/video is played for the purpose of education or training;
  • the audience for whom the material is played is made up of primarily students; and
  • no profit is gained by use of the audio/video.

However, a licence must be acquired for showing a film for non-educational, non-classroom university events such as social events put on by student groups or other groups.

Please visit our showing a film on campus webpage for details. 

Our instructor home page includes links to all webpages with copyright information relevant to instructors. Here are the key pages specifically about copyright in teaching:

  • The pages about course materials draw from information on the following pages
    • Exceptions in the Copyright Act
      • This is a list and descriptions of the sections in the Copyright Act that allow for some copying of materials for purposes such as research, private study and education.
    • Fair Dealing Guidelines
      • Guidelines about how to apply the fair dealing exception in the Copyright Act.
    • Copyright decision roadmap
      • Designed to provide a simple, five-question framework to assist in making decisions regarding use of a particular work.

There is also an instructor frequently asked questions webpage with additional information about course materials. 

If you are organizing a conference, you may be planning to record or stream the conference presentations and/or make conference materials available online. Please note that the presenters hold the copyright for conference materials they have created. If you would like to copy and share the presenters’ materials (for example, their presentation slides, posters, etc.), please acquire permission from the presenters before doing so. This can be done by distributing a form to presenters requesting their permission to distribute their work. Please be as detailed as possible when describing how the materials would be distributed (that is, limited only to conference attendees or posted openly on the internet).

Also, please note that presenters may have included materials for which they do not hold the copyright in their conference posters or presentations. For example, a presenter may have acquired permission from a publisher to include an image from an article or book in their conference presentation or handout. Additional permission from that publisher would be required if you or the presenter would like to copy/distribute the work beyond the allowances of the original permission or licence. 

For more copyright information for conference presenters, please see our conferences webpage.

Non-educational use of music such as for concerts, dances, entertainment, sporting events, ambience, music on hold for telephones, etc., require public performance licences through the Society of Composers Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN).

Please contact the copyright coordinator for assistance. 

If an audio file is in the public domain (that is, no longer protected by copyright), you can use that music in a new work that you are creating. Also, you can search for Creative Commons-licenced (CC-licenced) music which can be used in accordance with the specific licence attached to the music. Some CC licences prohibit use of the material for commercial purposes, but all CC-licenced material can be used for non-commercial purposes as long as the material is cited.

You may also be able to use existing audio in your new work based on section 29.21 of the Copyright Act (the “Non-commercial User-generated content” exception), as long as the following conditions are met:

  • the new work is being created for only non-commercial purposes;
  • the existing audio being used was legally obtained;
  • the existing audio being used is cited and the citation includes the source of the original work and the name of the creator if their name is available; and
  • the use of the existing audio does not substantially adversely affect the copyright owner of the existing audio.

Otherwise, permission must be obtained to reproduce a song for which you do not own the copyright. The Canadian Musical Reproductions Rights Agency (CMRRA) can grant a synchronization licence for reproductions of a musical work in audio-visual productions (that is, films and video). The CMRRA can also grant a mechanical licence that authorizes the reproduction of music on compact discs.

Getting help

If you have any questions or concerns about copyright, please let us know!

Copyright Coordinator
122.13 Murray Library

Note: The information obtained from or through this site does not constitute legal advice.


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