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Copyright Information: Instructor FAQ

What are the copyright rules that apply to my teaching?

Can I include other people's images and materials in my PowerPoint presentations? What if I want to provide copies of the presentation to my students?

I've come across a recent journal article and/or several pages from a book that I want to distribute to my students. How can I distribute these materials to my students?

What if a book I want to copy is out of print?

Are there any databases of copyrighted materials that I can use for free without worrying about copyright?

Is there a difference between posting something on my own website versus posting something on a MRU learning management system?

Can I email copyright-protected works to my students?

What is a Digital Lock?

May I post a PDF of a journal article I obtained through the library's e-journals, or a book chapter, to MRU's learning management systems for my students to read?

If I distribute two "short excerpts" of a textbook, one distributed as a class handout on the first day of class and one posted on my MRU learning or course management system on the last day of class, are these considered to be separate instances of "fair dealing"?

Do I need to ask permission to link to a website?

May I post examples of my students' work on MRU's learning or course management system?

Can students include copyrighted materials in their assignments and presentations?

I adopted a textbook for my course, and the book representative gave me instructional materials, including images, PowerPoint files, etc. Can I distribute any of those materials to my students on paper or in my MRU learning or course management system?

What is Library Online Course Reserves (LOCR) and where can I find more information about how to use it?

Can LOCR link to full-text resources that the Library has already paid for, such as e-journals and e-books?

Can I just link to the electronic journal article myself on my MRU learning management system and skip using LOCR?

Can the Library scan printed articles or book chapters and put them on LOCR for my class?

Can I get the MRU Library to send me electronic copies of articles using the interlibrary loan service?

What are licences for electronic resources?

Are there special rules for scanning?


Additional Information:

Film & Video in the Classroom

Music in the Classroom

 

What are the copyright rules that apply to my teaching?

The Copyright Act sets out the rights and obligations that apply to teaching activities, further reinforced by the MRU Use of Copyright Material Policy (POL #1610). These are explained in the MRU Fair Dealing Guidelines and elsewhere in this MRU Copyright LibGuide.

In the teaching context, you should pay particular attention to the following:

  • Is the work I wish to use subject to copyright protection, or is it in the public domain? Click here for more information on public domain material.
  • Are the works protected by a digital lock?
  • Does my use fall within the MRU Fair Dealing Guidelines?
  • Does my use fall within one of the Educational Exceptions set out in the Copyright Act?

It is also important to consider the alternatives to copying and distributing works to your students. For example, consider hyperlinking to materials through a course Blackboard site or syllabus.

 

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Can I include other people's images and materials in my PowerPoint presentations? What if I want to provide copies of the presentation to my students?

If the images or materials are "short excerpts":

If the images or materials are "short excerpts" (as defined in the MRU Fair Dealing Guidelines) it would be fair dealing to include those images or materials in a PowerPoint presentation and to distribute that presentation to your students, whether electronically (by email or posting on a learning management system) or in person via a handout.

If the images or materials are longer than "short excerpts":

If the images or materials are longer than "short excerpts," section 29.4 of the Copyright Act permits you to make copies of works to display (but not distribute) in a classroom presentation on MRU premises for educational and training purposes, provided that the work is not already available in a commercial format in the Canadian market within a reasonable time and for a reasonable price, in a medium appropriate for educational or training purposes.

Click here for more information on Lecture Slides and Recordings.

 

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I've come across a recent journal article and/or several pages from a book that I want to distribute to my students. How can I distribute these materials to my students?

You may make copies of works to hand out to each student in your classroom or post copies of such works into MRU's secure learning management system (Blackboard), if they qualify as "short excerpts" (as defined in the MRU Fair Dealing Guidelines). That said, you are strongly encouraged to hyperlink to provide access to Library e-resources, such as full-text journal articles and e-books. If you want to provide articles or excerpts from a book to students on a regular basis, for example, every year that you teach the course, and you know what articles or excerpts you want to include in advance, you can also consider creating a print course pack.

 

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What if a book I want to copy is out of print?

Copyright protection lasts for 50 years after the death of the author(s) of the work. Therefore, a book that is out of print may nonetheless be protected by copyright.

Fair dealing for educational uses allows making copies of "short excerpts," as explained in the MRU Fair Dealing Guidelines.

If more than a short excerpt is required, please contact the MRU Copyright Advisor at MRUcopyright@mtroyal.ca for assistance.

 

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Are there any databases of copyrighted materials that I can use for free without worrying about copyright?

Generally, no.

However, the MRU Copyright Libguide provides additional information about Creative Commons and public domain material, and provides lists of suggested copyright-friendly material for the following:

Wikipedia also organizes public domain sites by subject matter in its Wikipedia: Public Domain Resources page.

Also, works that are made available under a Creative Commons license are generally available for free, subject to certain conditions specified in the license, such as non-commercial use only and acknowledgment of the author. For Creative Commons materials, visit the Creative Commons website for more information or check out their content directories which list audio, video, image and text materials available under Creative Commons licensing. Also, please see the Creative Commons and Public Domain resource pages for help finding copyright-friendly material.

 

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Is there a difference between posting something on my own website versus posting something on the MRU learning management system (Blackboard)?

Generally, yes.

Unless you password-protect your website, it is publicly accessible, in the sense that anyone may visit it, not just your students. As a result, when you post material onto your site, it is being communicated to an unlimited audience.

MRU's learning management system (Blackboard) is a password-protected, secure website. Access to the course materials you post to the course site in Blackboard is restricted to the students registered in that course.

This limited distribution is one of the considerations in determining how fair dealing and the educational exceptions set out in the Copyright Act apply at MRU (each of these is described above). Also, the distribution of materials obtained through one of MRU's digital licenses may be restricted to learning management systems, such as Blackboard.

 

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Can I email copyright-protected works to my students?

Yes, if you have permission from the copyright holder to do so.

If you wish to distribute only a "short excerpt" of the work and you're in compliance with MRU's Fair Dealing Guidelines, you may use email to distribute the excerpt to your students.

 

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What is a Digital Lock?

The Copyright Act refers to "technology protection measures," which are commonly known as TPMs or digital locks. The term describes any technology, device or component that controls or restricts the access to or copying of a work (for example, password protection). For more information on digital locks, please click here.

 

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May I post a PDF of a journal article I obtained through the library's e-journals, or a book chapter, to MRU's learning management system (Blackboard) for my students to read?

Posting a single article from a periodical publication or a book chapter to MRU's secure learning management system (Blackboard) may be permitted under the MRU Fair Dealing Guidelines (see also Learning Management Site - Best Practices), unless this is not allowed under the terms of the digital license agreement or the specific e-journal or e-book provided by the MRU Library. Please contact the MRU Copyright Advisor at MRUcopyright@mtroyal.ca for assistance to confirm whether the terms of the MRU digital license allow this posting.

You are strongly encouraged to hyperlink via Blackboard to provide access to Library e-resources, such as full-text journal articles. 

You are also strongly encouraged to post a direct link to the work, instead of a copy of the article. In the Library's experience, this is the best way for students to access the most recent version of an article (It is common for publishers to make corrections or changes, such as adding supplementary material, to articles after initial publication). The Library's Persistent Link Builder tool is available for this purpose. As an added feature, a hyperlink to the article allows the MRU Library to track use and obtain data about the importance of a particular journal to the campus.

Before linking, read this FAQ (below) for useful tips on how to link to another website.

 

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If I distribute two "short excerpts" of a textbook, one distributed as a class handout on the first day of class and one posted on my MRU learning or course management system (Blackboard) on the last day of class, are these considered to be separate instances of "fair dealing"?

It depends on the cumulative amount you have copied.

The MRU Fair Dealing Guidelines define what a "short excerpt" is. The limit applies to all copies made from a particular work, including various editions of a work.

So, if you copy one page from a 100-page book on the first day of class, and two pages from the same book on the last day of class, you are within the 10% permitted under the MRU Fair Dealing Guidelines.

Similarly, if you copy five pages from edition 1 of a 100-page book, and later copy six pages from edition 2 of the same book, then this exceeds the 10% permitted under the MRU Fair Dealing Guidelines. For more information, please contact the MRU Copyright Advisor at MRUcopyright@mtroyal.ca for assistance.

 

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Do I need to ask permission to link to a website?

Generally no, but you should check the website's "Terms of Use" section to confirm whether or not it has any specific linking prohibitions. You should not link to a website or material that you know or ought to know is an infringing copy.

In addition, some of MRU's Digital Licenses contain linking prohibitions. Please check the database Terms of Use or contact the MRU Copyright Advisor at MRUcopyright@mtroyal.ca if you have questions or concerns.

If there are no restrictions on linking, you may link to the website. See our Learning Management System - Best Practices when Linking to Websites document for more information.

 

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May I post examples of my students' work on MRU's learning or course management system?

Only if you have obtained the student's written permission. However, if the work contains third party copyrighted materials, you will also need to confirm that the student obtained the copyright owner's consent to use their materials, or that such materials are in the public domain, or that the use of the materials falls within the MRU Fair Dealing Guidelines. (Note: this does not apply to posting the student's paper on an open site (i.e. publicly accessible) website or blog). It is a good practice to ask students in advance whether they consent to have their work posted onto MRU's learning management system (Blackboard) and keep written records of the permissions given. MRU has developed student consent forms for these purposes. Please contact the MRU Copyright Advisor at MRUcopyright@mtroyal.ca for assistance.

 

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Can students include copyrighted materials in their assignments and presentations?

Generally, yes, provided that:

 

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Can the Library scan printed articles or book chapters and put them on reserve for my class?

Yes, so long as the copy is in compliance with copyright law (i.e. in compliance with the Copyright Act). In many cases, works will be covered by fair dealing and may be scanned and posted without the need to obtain permission. Where permission is required, this process can take from 1 to 10 weeks and the copyright owner may require a fee.

 

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Can I get the MRU Library to send me electronic copies of articles using the interlibrary loan service?

The MRU Library's Interlibrary Loan (ILL) service may request articles to be electronically transmitted to the MRU Library from another library. Interlibrary loans may be subject to a fee and other requirements. For more information, contact us.

 

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What are licenses for electronic resources?

The MRU Library contracts with a variety of vendors and publishers to provide access to millions of electronic resources (databases, e-journals, e-books, etc.). These licenses stipulate how and by whom an electronic resource may be used. The Journal Databases and Electronic Resources page of this LibGuide explains how to find the permissions granted by each electronic resources license.

If the terms of a MRU electronic resources license are violated by a library user, publishers may temporarily suspend access for the entire MRU community. In cases where a resolution cannot be reached, the publisher may cancel the license or impose additional restrictions.

If you have questions about a particular electronic resource or MRU digital license, please contact the MRU Copyright Advisor at MRUcopyright@mtroyal.ca.

 

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Are there special rules for scanning?

The rules for making a digital copy are the same as the rules for making a physical (paper) copy.

 

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Licensing Information

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a CC BY 4.0 International License.

Attribution

Content on this page has been copied and adapted from the "Copyright at UBC" website, created by the University of British Columbia under a CC BY 4.0 International License.

Have a copyright question?

If after browsing this guide you still have questions or require additional information please contact MRUcopyright@mtroyal.ca, or by phone at 403.440.6618.