Copyright in the Classroom
- Can I include other people’s images and materials in my PowerPoint presentations?
- Can I play music in class?
- Can I play videos in class?
- I want to display someone else’s work in my classroom during one of my lectures. Isn’t there some sort of exception for that?
- Can students include copyright materials in their assignments and presentations?
- Can I copy portions of materials for the purpose of creating tests and examinations?
- Is it okay to use images or other material from the Internet for educational purposes?
Generally, you may include other people's works in your classroom presentations without having to get permission or pay a fee, provided that there is no commercial version available of such works. Under the educational exceptions within the Copyright Act, you may make copies of works to project or display in class on the University’s premises for educational and training purposes, provided that the work is not already available in a commercial format.
However, the exception only covers projections or display in class on campus (when you are acting under the authority of an educational institution). If you want to include works in a PowerPoint presentation outside of the University campus, for example, to a community forum, you may only do so if you fall within the fair dealing exception or have permission from the copyright owner.
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.
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:
- 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.
The Copyright Act permits an educational institution or a person acting under its authority for the purposes of education or training on its premises to reproduce a work, or do any other necessary act, in order to display it, provided the work is not already commercially available in that format.
Generally yes. The fair dealing exception allows students to use works for the purpose of research, private study, criticism or review, news reporting, education, parody or satire. So provided the student is including the work for one of these purposes and the use could be characterized as fair, bearing in mind the fair dealing factors outline above, it will likely be covered by the fair dealing exception.
The Copyright Act permits an educational institution or a person acting under its authority for the purposes of education or training on its premises to reproduce (perform, translate, etc.) a work, as required for a test or examination, provided the work is not already commercially available in that format.
Text derived and adapted from Waterloo Copyright FAQ by University of Waterloo, licenced under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 Canada License.