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Copyright Information: Learning management system (Blackboard) (with FAQ)

Learning Management System (e.g. Blackboard)

You may choose to upload resources to a learning management system (e.g. Blackboard) yourself; however, you may do so only if:

  • you have the copyright owner's permission to do so;
  • the use falls within one of the exceptions in the Copyright Act, such as Fair Dealing; or
  • where no permission is required, such as scanning a public domain work.

If the copy is taken from one of MRU's licensed electronic resources (including subscription e-journals), then the license agreement may permit you to upload into the learning management system (Blackboard). However, the license may not permit this, and may even restrict your ability to use Fair Dealing.

For more information on uploading resources into learning management systems (and in particular, into Blackboard), please contact the MRU Copyright Advisor at


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Best Practices: Learning Management Systems (Blackboard)

If you wish to rely on the fair dealing or other educational exceptions to post copyrighted materials on MRU's learning or course management systems (i.e. Blackboard), you need to ensure that such postings are subject to reasonable safeguards to prevent students from distributing, transmitting or disseminating such materials to persons outside the course or class. At a minimum, you should abide by the following best practices and limitations:

  • You are strongly encouraged to use Blackboard to distribute and post course materials.  Blackboard has many benefits, but from a copyright perspective it has the advantage of being password protected and makes student access manageable (i.e. it automatically adds and removes students as they enroll or drop your course).
  • Only post materials if you have the copyright holder's permission, the materials are in the public domain, or the materials are "short excerpts" (as defined in the MRU Fair Dealing Guidelines).
  • Credit the author and source of all materials. This is necessary for copyright attribution, and is also a matter of academic integrity.
  • Only include materials that are reasonably necessary for the purpose of the course.
  • Include a clearly visible notice on all materials you post that states:

"This copy is made solely for your personal use for research, private study, education, parody, satire, criticism or review only.  Further reproduction, fixation, distribution, transmission, dissemination, communication, or any other uses, may be an infringement of copyright if done without securing the permission of the copyright owner.  You may not distribute, email or otherwise communicate these materials to any other person."

  • When uploading materials directly into Blackboard, confirm the copyright authorization(s) apply to the material(s) on the copyright metadata form.

When providing links to websites, keep in mind these best practices:

  • Do not "frame" the other webpage or any content from the other webpage.
  • If the web address does not clearly identify the website and the content owner, you should also include the full details of the author, copyright owner and source of the materials by the link (this will avoid any suggestion that the website is your own material or that you are somehow affiliated with the other site).
  • Link only to reputable and legitimate websites.


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Blackboard FAQ

Generally speaking, course Blackboard sites are permitted to contain copyrighted material to the same extent that the material may be distributed to a class as a print handout, (except if an applicable license agreement states otherwise). This means that a "short excerpt" of a copyrighted work may be posted to a course Blackboard site: typically this is a single chapter from a book or a single article from a journal or periodical. 

Permalinks to any electronic resources already purchased by the Library will be provided to faculty members for inclusion in Blackboard course sites. Library reserve staff will be happy to assist with any linking questions. 

In order to maximize the use of e-resources already purchased by the University through the Library, and to ensure convenience and reduced costs for students, faculty should use linked reading lists whenever possible and practical.

Can I post a PDF of the digital article to my Blackboard site rather than link to the e-resource?

Maybe. Copyright law permits a single chapter of a book, or a single article from a journal to be posted to Course Blackboard site as a PDF. However, sometimes the license agreements that Mount Royal must sign to gain access to e-resources prohibit this. To determine whether a given e-resource may be posted to Blackboard requires a review of the relevant license agreements. For this reason, Mount Royal encourages instructors to link to e-resources whenever possible. 

If you are unable to link to an e-resource and would like to post a PDF of the material to Blackboard, please see the journal's terms of use (click here for more info on how to do that), or email for assistance in determining whether the material may be posted.


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Can I link to a freely available internet resource on my Blackboard site without permission?

Although the content is protected under copyright (unless it is identified otherwise), a link to a resource or site does not constitute making or distributing a copy and is permissible. Hyperlinking is therefore considered copyright-friendly, and is preferable to other forms of dissemination.

However, although you generally do not need permission to link to a website, you should check the website's "Terms of Use" section to confirm whether or not it has any specific linking prohibitions.  In addition, some of the MRU Library's digital licenses may contain linking prohibitions.  Please check with the MRU Copyright Advisor at for further inquiries.


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Does it a matter if the internet source is legally posted or not?

Yes. You should not link to a resource that you know, or suspect, is not legally posted. If you have questions about a particular site or its content, please ask at


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Note 1: Journal Articles & Electronic Resources

If you wish you to include a journal article taken from an electronic database or another electronic resource as part of your course material, you must comply with the terms of the license agreement.  Each electronic item is governed by a license agreement, and we must comply with the terms of the license when using electronic material.

Click here for more information on license agreements, how to use electronic resources or journal articles taken from electronic databases in your course pack.


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Licensing Information

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed 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, or by phone at 403.440.6618.