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Copyright Information: Lecture slides & recordings

Lecture Slides & Recordings: Faculty


Using Third Party Content in Lecture Slides Displayed in Class

Displaying third-party owned materials in slides displayed in class is a common and excepted practice. This practice can be continued in full compliance with copyright law, in each of the following circumstances:

  • you have the permission of the copyright owner to do so (which may be permission from the author, or an MRU electronic resource license);
  • the amount of the work being displayed is a Short Excerpt (as defined in the MRU Fair Dealing Guidelines);
  • the material you wish to display is not available for purchase in a medium appropriate for your purposes, in a Canadian market at a reasonable price and within a reasonable time (see s.29.4 fo the Copyright Act);
  • if the material is available through the internet and you've met the conditions set out in s.30.04 of the Copyright Act (which include:
    • you must properly attribute the source;
    • you may not circumvent a digital lock to get a copy of the work; and 
    • you may not ignore a clearly visible notice on the website that prohibits your use of the work in lecture slides).


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Distributing Lecture Slides

If the third party copyrighted material within your lecture slides qualifies as a "Short Excerpt", as defined in the MRU Fair Dealing Guidelines, or you have received the copyright owner's written permission (which may include an electronic resources license), then you may post a copy of the lecture slides into MRU's secure learning management system (Blackboard), provide physical copies to your students, or send digital copies via email.

However, some MRU electronic resource licenses restrict the making or dissemination of copies and limit fair dealing rights. Therefore, if an MRU digital license only grants specific, limited usage rights, and the Fair Dealing Requirements give more generous usage rights, the more limited terms of the MRU electronic resource licenses apply. You can view some of the terms of the license agreement associated with a particular electronic resource by looking up the Terms of Use for the database in question. Contact the MRU Copyright Advisor at for assistance to confirm whether the terms of the MRU electronic resource license allow this posting.

Tricky bit: Please note that when considering the distribution of lecture slides, there is an important distinction between posting the slides to a publicly accessible website, and posting the slides to a website that is restricted to students enrolled in your course. Blackboard, MRU's learning management system, is a password protected, secure website that is restricted to and accessible only by MRU students, and each student's access is limited to the courses they are registered in. By contrast, most privately owned websites (e.g. YouTube) are publicly accessible, in the sense that anyone may visit, not just your students. Posting lecture slides containing third party owned copyrighted works to Blackboard is different and far less risky (from a copyright perspective), than posting the same slides on a publicly accessible website.


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Best Practices: Lecture Slides

If you are considering using third party owned copyrighted material in the lecture slides, and you conclude that your use is not possible without the copyright owner's permission, which cannot or is impractical for you to obtain, the following considerations may be helpful:

  • Consider contacting the MRU Copyright Advisor at The Copyright Advisor may be able to assist you in getting the copyright owner's permission after all. 
  • Consider whether the amount of the material you're using can be reduced so that it falls within the limits of the MRU Fair Dealing Guidelines.
  • Consider directing students to the materials, rather than copying the materials. This can be done by:
    • Provide a link to digital content, such as news articles, YouTube videos, images, etc.
    • Create a permalink to online material or journal articles.
  • Consider alternative materials, and in particular:
    • Material for which you own the rights (e.g. material that you have created and have no relinquished the copyright - such as to your publisher).
    • Material for which the university already has a license.
    • Open Access or Creative Commons-licensed material.
    • Materials that are in the public domain.
  • With respect to images in particular, you also have the option of finding images that have been licensed for re-use or that are in the public domain. The MRU Images Resources page suggests some excellent resources for finding these types of images online.


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Recording Lecture Slides: Faculty Recording Third Party Material in their Lecture Slides

You may record a lecture, either as a video-recording or "voice-over PowerPoint," and post the recording of the lecture onto MRU's secure learning management system (Blackboard) for your students to access. If the lecture contains images of third party owned copyrighted material, the use of that material must comply with copyright law. 

If the amount of third party owned copyrighted material does not exceed a "Short Excerpt", as defined in the MRU Fair Dealing Guidelines, the fair dealing exception may be applied. Note: it is permissible to use the fair dealing exception to record a lecture for the purposes of delivering MRU courses online through a secure learning management system.

An alternative to this application of the general fair dealing right described above, is the specific exception for third party owned copyrighted material included in a recorded lesson. This is known as the Lesson Exception (see s. 30.01 of the Copyright Act).

For this exception to apply, the institution and the student must comply with several very important, and limiting, conditions, the most important of which is that the student and MRU must destroy all recordings of the lesson within 30 days after the day on which the students enrolled in the course have received their final course evaluation.

If you have any questions or wish to use the Lesson Exception, please contact the MRU Copyright Advisor at for more information.


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Recording a Lecture: Student Recording & Distribution of Lectures

There are many factors that affect the recording of lectures, including FOIP and Human Rights considerations. The following resources may be helpful.  Please note that nothing in this LibGuide should be taken as legal advice; it is for information purposes only.


Relevant Legislation and MRU Policies

Generally speaking, it is possible for copyright to exist in a lecture. However, recording a lecture intersects with many different pieces of legislation and MRU policies, including but not limited to: 

"As members of the institution, all employees and students are required to inform themselves of their legal duty and will not use copyright material without ensuring that prior permission has been obtained from the copyright holder or unless permitted under the Copyright Act." The Copyright Policy also states: "Students who are in violation of the Policy may be disciplined under the Student Code of Conduct."  


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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.

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