Instructors can also make course materials available to students via York University Learning Management Systems (LMS) that are password-protected and accessible only to students while they are enroled in the course. In advance of making digital content available to your students review these guidelines.
Options available for digital content for your York LMS
- York University Library (YUL) e-Resources
- Fair Dealing Guidelines
An important exception to the right of copyright owners to control the reproduction of their works is known in Canada as the “fair dealing” exception. This exception in the Copyright Act attempts to balance the rights of the copyright owner with the needs of others, who require access to copyrighted material to pursue their research and studies. A short excerpt of a protected work (e.g. book, journal and newspaper article, audiovisual work, sound recording, etc.) may be used in your LMS course materials. See York’s Application of the Fair Dealing Policy for Universities to Learning Management Systems for details and limits.
Keep track of the materials you provide to students as you go through the course by adding to your reading list. This will ensure that over the length of the term the amount taken from a source never goes over the limits set out in the Fair Dealing Guidelines.
Note: A copyright-protected work made available under a York University Library licence that prohibits the use of extracts on an LMS cannot be copied and included in an LMS. The terms and conditions of that licence take precedence over the Fair Dealing Guidelines.
The Fair Dealing guidelines do not permit the circumvention of digital locks to obtain access to a copyright-protected audiovisual work.
Motion pictures and other audiovisual works that are published on DVDs are typically protected by a digital lock known as the Content Scrambling System (“CSS”). The Fair Dealing Guidelines do not apply if it is necessary to circumvent a CSS lock in order to copy a Short Excerpt of an audiovisual work. It is however permissible to reproduce a Short Excerpt under the Fair Dealing Guidelines through using a video recording device, e.g. a camcorder, to record a Short Excerpt from a computer, television screen or projection. It is also permissible to use screen capture software that enables the copying of DVD content after the content has been lawfully decrypted by a licensed computer DVD player. For further information see the Fair Dealing Guide to Audiovisual Works or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Relationship between Fair Dealing and the Exceptions for Displaying a Work and a Lesson
Below are explanations of two additional user rights set out in the Copyright Act (called, respectively, the Display exception and the Lesson exception). These are separate and distinct from the fair dealing exception.
In any given instance, both the fair dealing exception and one of these other exceptions may apply. In such an instance, a faculty member may choose which ever is more practical or otherwise preferable— the fair dealing exception or one of the Display or Lesson exceptions.
If the use of a particular Work falls outside what is permitted by the Fair Dealing Guidelines, a faculty member may wish to consider whether the fair dealing exception otherwise applies, or whether the Display or Lesson exceptions are more appropriate. Please note that both the Display and the Lesson exceptions contain restrictions that must be complied with. If you have any questions or concerns about either exception, please contact email@example.com.
The Display Exception
Pursuant to section 29.4(1) of the Copyright Act, it is not an infringement of copyright to reproduce a Work, or do any other necessary act, in order to display the work on the premises of a university for the purpose of education or training.
This exception permits the display of more than a Short Excerpt.
Restrictions: The exception does not apply if the work is available for sale in Canada within a reasonable time, at a reasonable price, in a medium appropriate for the display, and the copies may be located with reasonable effort. However, this does not prevent a faculty member making of a manual reproduction of the Work (e.g. on a white board).
The Lesson Exception
Section 30.01 of the Copyright Act provides an exception for copies included in a lesson. A lesson would include a lecture, and a presentation, such as a PowerPoint presentation, presented in a classroom.
For the exception in section 30.01. to apply, recordings or reproductions of the lesson must be destroyed within 30 days after the day on which the students enroled in the course of which the lesson forms part have received their final course evaluation. This would mean that all copies of a presentation stored on an LMS must be destroyed, and not merely rendered inaccessible to students, within the 30 day period. You must clearly post that the copy is being made using this exception.
The following activities are permissible under section 30.01:
- If a presentation made in class contains a work displayed pursuant to Display exception (described above), that presentation may be posted to an LMS.
- If a recording of a lecture or classroom presentation contains a work displayed pursuant to the Display exception, that recording may be posted to an LMS.
- If a recording of a lecture or classroom presentation contains the performance of an audiovisual work or sound recording, that recording may be posted to an LMS. However, the audiovisual work and the sound recording must not be an infringing copy or the person responsible for the performance had no reasonable grounds to believe that the audiovisual work or sound recording was an infringing copy. For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Public Domain, Creative Commons and Open Access
Public Domain: Works that are not protected by copyright are said to be in the Public Domain and you are free to use them as you choose. A copyright-protected work enters the public domain when the copyright expires or is waived by the copyright owner. In Canada copyright generally lasts for the life of the author, the remainder of the calendar year in which the author dies, plus 50 years following the end of that calendar year – the “life plus 50 rule”. More information is found at http://copyright.info.yorku.ca/public-domain-open-access-and-creative-commons-material/. The duration of copyright will vary depending on the format of the work so if you need additional information contact email@example.com.
Some good sources for high resolution images in the public domain are listed below. Any potential copyright restrictions on use are listed so check each image before using it. :
- Rijksstudio - Rijksmuseum with over 125,000 high resolution images from this Amsterdam museum, free for use and reuse, https://www.rijksmuseum.nl/en/rijksstudio
- BioDiversity Library's Flickr Photostream with illustrations of plants, animals, landscapes, and more. Most images are licensed CC-BY for reuse, https://www.flickr.com/photos/biodivlibrary/
- Photos Public Domain is a collection with a wide variety of stock photos, http://www.photos-public-domain.com/
- The Public Domain Review contains collections of images, illustrations, audio and video.
Creative Commons or Open Access content is protected by copyright and the licence the creator of the work applies to its use may impose specific conditions on copying, sharing and attribution requirements. The Creative Commons site has helpful FAQs on CC licences that will provide additional information on how to navigate the licences to find the right content for your course, https://creativecommons.org/faq/.
Creative Commons (CC)
Always double check that the images you find in these searches are licensed appropriately before use.
The Creative Commons website has FAQs on Creative Commons licences to find the right content for your course, https://creativecommons.org/faq/.
Additional information on attribution requirements may be reviewed here.
Open Access Materials
Open Access refers to resources that are freely available for viewing and use. Open Access is not the same as Public Domain, and most Open Access creators do retain the copyright in their work. Some Open Access content is limited to partial access, such as linking, while other authors permit unrestricted use so check to see what limits apply to the item you wish to use in your course. More information is found at http://copyright.info.yorku.ca/online-resources-for-content/
A good starting point in searching for Open Access content is:
- Pixabay, https://pixabay.com/, which has a wide variety of stock photos released by the artist. Some images (i.e. people, trademarked objects, private property) may have certain restrictions on use. Check the record for each image in advance of use in your course content.
- Wikimedia Commons, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Images, has a large collection of photos taken by various artists, as well as images, audio and video files from public domain collections and images pulled from Wikipedia.
- For clip art and simple images search Open Clipart, https://openclipart.org/
- Internet Content
Many websites limit access to their content so you are strongly encouraged to use library eResource collections rather than linking to content on the internet. Hyperlinking to content outside of the course LMS site is always preferable especially when the entire work is viewed. Seek permission from the rights-holder if you intend to incorporate significant amounts of a work into your course materials.
If you are unable to find appropriate materials in the York Library eResources you may provide a link to a website on the internet if the following conditions are met:
- The material was posted legitimately – works available via the internet can not be reproduced if the educational institution or person acting under its authority knows, or should have known, that the work was made available through the Internet without the consent of the copyright owner;
- There is no digital lock preventing access or copying;
- There is no visible notice prohibiting linking to the URL; and
- Include the full details of the author, copyright owner and source of the materials from the website.
When evaluating internet content look for statements that the individual who uploaded it has the right to do so either because they have obtained copyright permission of the creator or their representatives. If you don't see such type of information, it may be illegally posted so choose other content. To determine if you are viewing a legally posted version of a copyright-protected work start by looking at the creator’s official Web site. They may sell their work directly or have links to representatives authorized to sell it on their behalf. If they do, it is an indication that the internet version is not from a legitimate source with the legal right to distribute the content. If you have any doubts, contact the creator/rights holder directly or the content uploader to determine if they have obtained permission from the copyright holder distributes the content.
The embed feature can be found on many platforms, such as YouTube, Vimeo, etc. Once enabled it appears to grant a limited licence to copy and distribute the content. However, if someone uploads infringing content they have no legal right to grant that licence. The licence can only be granted by the rights holder or their representative. When evaluating internet content look for statements that they have the right to post the material either because they created the content or have obtained the permission from the creators or the company representing them. To determine if you are viewing a legitimate version of a copyrighted work start by looking at the creator’s official web site. They may sell their work directly or have links to representatives authorized to sell it on their behalf. If they do, it may be an indication that the internet version is not from a legitimate source. If you have any doubts, contact copyright owner or the internet site where you found the content. When linking or embedding internet content in LMS site:
- Do not break a digital lock (a TPM or technological protection measure) in accessing or copying the content;
- Do not make a copy of the content and upload it to LMS; and
- Provide proper attribution along with the link to the video.
- Instructor-created works, in which you own, or have retained the rights to use for this purpose
Works you create, in which you own, or have retained the right to use in your course are a great choice for your course LMS. This would include lecture slides and course notes without third party content, etc.
- Laws, Statutes, Judicial Decisions and Government of Canada Publications.
- Permission from Rights Holder
If your course content is not available via the options mentioned above? Consider having the students purchase a textbook or course pack from the bookstore. Or, a transactional licence should be secured from the rights holder or licensing agent. Details of how to make a request to a rights holder can be found here: http://copyright.info.yorku.ca/contacting-rights-holders/
- Screening audiovisual content
Sharing audiovisual content such as films and audio files presents more copyright challenges than playing them in class. Instructors can still link to legally posted online content from YouTube, etc. and York Libraries also has licensed streaming video collections that can be accessed. Purchasing additional licences for additional content can take some time so commercial streaming options (i.e. Netflix, Crave or Disney Plus) that students may already subscribe to can be a good option.
If you want to screen a film for your class is not available digitally through one of YUL collections, you may be able to conduct a virtual screening using the distance education exception in the Copyright Act (Section 30.01). This copyright exception is not widely used as it includes a variety of requirements that need to be followed. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on the requirements of this copyright exception.
Copyright Q & A Sessions
If you would like more information on copyright and posting content on your course LMS, consider attending a Copyright Information session. All copyright-related questions or concerns can be discussed with staff from York’s Copyright Office.
We would like to acknowledge the contribution of material found on the University of British Columbia’s Copyright at UBC’s website, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.