Content on the Internet, including text, images, and videos, is protected by copyright. Posting an image on the Internet does not place it in the public domain. Unfortunately, there is no collective which exists that provides easy access to, or permissions for, web-based or multimedia objects.
JUST BECAUSE YOU CAN ACCESS THE ITEM DOES NOT MEAN YOU CAN USE IT.
There are repositories of images on the Internet which contain public domain images, or images licensed under permissive licenses such as Creative Commons licenses. Instructors can usually use these images without seeking any further permission, although any license terms should be adhered to. It is good practice to always provide attribution information for content whenever possible, including the source of the content and, if known, the author or creator. See the Copyright Friendly Resources page for links.
The Copyright Act contains a further exception which allows instructors, staff and students to use works from the internet:
and the following must be mentioned in respect of the work:
Where these criteria are met, content found on the Internet may be used without seeking permission from the copyright holder. This exception applies even if the content is not in the public domain or licensed under a permissive license. If you are not sure about using material from a particular website, contact the MRU Copyright Advisor at MRUcopyright@mtroyal.ca for guidance.
If your goal is to show an online streaming video for an educational or training purpose, then you may do so long as you follow ALL of the following rules (which are derived from section 30.04 of the Copyright Act):
Tricky bits: Showing the video in the classroom is not permitted if the content of the video itself violates copyright, i.e. if the video itself is an illegal copy. Also, if you need a username and password to access the video (as with Netflix) you should not show it in class.
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 does one of two things: controls or restricts the access to a work (for example, password protection) or restricts you from doing something with the work (for example, copying the work or downloading a copy). The Copyright Act makes in an offense to circumvent the first of these types of digital locks (the access restriction). You cannot circumvent a digital lock to obtain access to a copyright-protected audiovisual work, unless authorized by the copyright owner (for example, you have legitimately obtained the password and the end-user license agreement permits your desired use). For greater clarity, the MRU 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 MRU 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. However, it is permissible to reproduce a Short Excerpt under the MRU 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, contact the MRU Copyright Advisor at MRUcopyright@mtroyal.ca.
If, after browsing this guide, you still have questions or require additional information please contact MRUcopyright@mtroyal.ca, or 403.440.6618.
The Copyright Advisor is also available in EL1132 for drop-in office hours: