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Copyright FAQs for instructors

Here you will find FAQs about finding and using copyright protected works in your teaching. For FAQs and resources related to your rights as the creator of teaching materials such as lecture notes and slides, exams and assignments, as well as research products, please see the Authors and Other Creators section.

Some text derived from University of Waterloo and University of Saskatchewan copyright FAQs.

Copyright basics

See Copyright basics FAQs for information on how copyright works in Canada and at SFU and  general information about the Canadian Copyright Act.

Using copyright protected material in the classroom

The Copyright Act allows certain uses of copyright protected materials by instructors in educational institutions. The FAQs below explain what you can do in the classroom.

  • Yes. If you are copying material for use in a course, fair dealing allows for limited copying of short excerpts of copyright protected works. SFU has fair dealing limits for copying for educational purposes set out in the policy Application of Fair Dealing under Policy R30.04. The material copied can only be distributed to students engaged in a specific course of study at SFU and cannot be made available to those not in the class. The short excerpt can be made available as a class handout (or email); in Canvas; or as part of a coursepack. See below, and refer to the Copyright Information Graphic for details.

    The amount of a short excerpt that can be copied for educational purposes under fair dealing at SFU is:

     (i) Up to 10% of a copyright protected work,

    (ii) One chapter from a book,

    (iii) A single article from a periodical,

    (iv) An entire artistic work from a copyright protected work containing other artistic works,

    (v) An entire newspaper article or page,

    (vi) An entire single poem or musical score from a copyright protected work containing other poems or musical scores,

    (vii) An entire entry from an encyclopedia, annotated bibliography, dictionary or similar reference work.

    The limits described above are mutually exclusive. Use the one that works best in the specific situation.

    NOTE: Copying or communicating multiple short excerpts from the same copyright protected work, with the:

    (i) Effect of exceeding the copying limits set out in Section 4.4 of this Appendix or

    (ii) Intention of copying or communicating substantially the entire work,

    is prohibited.

    If you are copying material for use on a website, in publicity materials, for publication or any other use outside a course, you may need the permission of the copyright holder. See the Instructors' resources page for sources of less copyright-restricted materials, or contact the Copyright Officer (copy@sfu.ca) with a specific question or for help obtaining permission.

  • Fair dealing is a user’s right in copyright law permitting use of, or “dealing” with, a copyright protected work without permission or payment of copyright royalties. The fair dealing exception in the Copyright Act allows you to use other people’s copyright protected material for the purpose of research, private study, education, satire, parody, criticism, review or news reporting, provided that what you do with the work is ‘fair’. If your purpose is criticism, review or news reporting, you must also mention the source and author of the work for it to be fair dealing.

    SFU has a Fair Dealing Policy which lays out how much you can copy for purposes of education, research and private study.

    Whether something is ‘fair’ will depend on the circumstances. Courts will normally consider factors such as:

    • The purpose of the dealing (Is it commercial or research / educational?)
    • The character of the dealing (What was done with the work? Was it an isolated use or an ongoing, repetitive use? How widely was it distributed?)
    • The amount of the dealing (How much was copied?)
    • Alternatives to the dealing (Was the work necessary for the end result? Could a different work have been used instead?)
    • The nature of the work (Is there a public interest in its dissemination? Was it previously unpublished?)
    • The effect of the dealing on the original work (Does the use compete with the market of the original work?)

    It is not necessary that your use satisfy every one of these factors in order to be fair, and no one factor is determinative by itself. In assessing whether your use is fair, a court would look at the factors as a whole to determine if, on balance, your use is fair.  

    If, having taken into account these considerations, the use can be characterized as ‘fair’ and it was for the purpose of research, private study, education, satire, parody, criticism, review or news reporting, then it will fall within the fair dealing exception and will not require permission from the copyright owner. In addition, if your purpose is criticism, review or news reporting you must also mention the source and author of the work for it to be fair dealing. For further clarity and additional information about limits on the amount and nature of copying permitted under fair dealing in certain contexts, please see the Application of Fair Dealing under Policy R30.04. These limits are also outlined in the left column of the Copyright Infographic.

    Please note as well; it is important to distinguish ‘fair dealing’ from ‘fair use’. The fair use exception in U.S. copyright law is NOT the equivalent of fair dealing in Canadian law. The wording of the two exceptions is different. It is important to make sure that you consider the Canadian law and are not relying on U.S. information, which has no jurisdiction in Canada.

  • No, scanning is allowed within the same parameters as any other method of copying.  

    If you want to scan something, you may do so only if 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 (one in which copyright has expired). 

    If you want to scan a work that is still in copyright and add it to a website under fair dealing, you need to be sure that the website is password protected (e.g., SFU’s learning management system) and restricted to students enrolled in your course, and follow the fair dealing limits. 

    If what you want to do falls outside the exceptions and is not in the public domain, you will need to get the copyright owner’s permission.

  • Yes. There is a wealth of material out there which is either in the public domain (meaning copyright has expired) or available under Creative Commons licensing, which generally means the work is available for free, subject to certain limited conditions, such as non-commercial use only and acknowledgment of the author. This includes open access publications, which generally use Creative Commons licenses.

    For Creative Commons materials, visit the Creative Commons website for more information and check out their content directories which list audio, video, image and text materials available under Creative Commons licensing, or search using their Search page. To find open access materials, start with the Copyright Resources and Links for Instructors page.

    For public domain material, simply search online for ‘public domain’ and the type of material you’re interested in. Some useful sites include: Project Gutenberg (the largest collection of copyright-free books online) and Wikipedia, which has an entire page dedicated to public domain resources

    For other online materials, a recommended best practice is to check the website’s ‘Terms of Use’ or ‘Legal Notices’ section to confirm what conditions apply to use of the website’s material. In some cases, you may be able to use the material for free for non-commercial and educational purposes.

  • Being out of print does not mean that a book is no longer protected by copyright. Fair dealing for educational use allows making copies of "short excerpts," and other educational exceptions in the Copyright Act allow other specific uses; see the Copyright Infographic for copying guidelines for classroom use. If a longer portion is required and the book is still protected by copyright, you should contact the publisher to request permission to use the material. The SFU Bookstore can request permission for you, and distribute copies of the work once permission is obtained.

  • Yes, all government documents created in Canada are protected by copyright. Federal, territorial and provincial government documents are protected by Crown copyright and the term of Crown copyright is 50 years after the date of publication.

    Municipal government documents are not covered by Crown copyright, but instead fall under the normal copyright term of life of the creator plus 50 years. Check the website of the municipal government whose documents you wish to reproduce to see if they allow for reproduction for educational, non-commercial, or research purposes.

    For further information on the use of federal government documents that are under Crown copyright see About Crown Copyright.

    For further information about the use of BC government documents that are under Crown copyright see BC Government copyright page, Guidelines Covering the Reproduction of Provincial Legislation, and the Crown copyright section of the Ministry of Finance procurement handbook.

  • Data and factual information (e.g., rainfall or temperature measurements, mortality rates, population numbers, currency values, chemical structures, historical facts and dates, the number of Twitter followers someone has) are not protected by copyright. Additionally, simple and typical visualizations such as line graphs and tables, or the bar chart shown below, are often not creative enough to be eligible for copyright protection. These types of material may be able to be copied and used without permission.

    Total precipitation over the last year (monthly data) for Vancouver

    However, some types of research products that might be used in a similar way to data (e.g., photographs, audiovisual recordings, detailed diagrams and charts, collections of text mined from websites or publications) are most likely protected by copyright.

    If you are using someone else's data in your teaching or research, you will need to consider its copyright status, and ensure that you have the right or permission to copy and share it. Remember that fair dealing and other rights may apply.

    If you are generating or compiling data in your research, any copyright in these materials may belong to you, another member of your research team, or an external third party. If your data incorporates works created by others, you will need to consider the copyright status before sharing or making it public, unless your use of the work falls under fair dealing or a similar provision. Users of SFU's Research Data Repository Radar should ensure they have the right, or permission from any rightsholders, to deposit copyright-protected material (more information about copyright considerations for data deposits to Radar can be found on this page).

    Any questions about data and copyright can be directed the SFU Copyright Office at copy@sfu.ca.

    Image credit: Chart generated at vancouver.weatherstats.ca

     

  • The SFU Library provides access to ebooks from many different publishers on a variety of platforms.  Some of the ebook platforms include DRM (Digital Rights Management) to protect the content of their ebooks from copyright abuse. This means that you will encounter a variety of limitations in how much you can print, download and save from an ebook.

    Access to ebooks on third party platforms is an agreement between the platform and the publisher; the library has no involvement, except for the right to purchase (or lease) the ebook on an ebook platform. 

    It is common for a publisher, or an author, to request additional DRM limits (on top of the platform's standard DRM restrictions). Unfortunately, there is no way to know for sure which ebooks these additional limits apply to -- except when you attempt to do something that is beyond the limits, such as print 20 pages in one session if the publisher has set the limit to 15 pages on that platform.

    MyiLibrary

    • Allows eighty (80) pages of printing and ten (10) pages of downloads.
    • You must use the "print" and "save" buttons on the MyiLibrary toolbar - not the commands in the "file" menu of the browser
    • Please note that publishers may apply additional restrictions to these default printing and saving options.

    ebrary

    • The copy and print limits on most ebrary books are based on a percentage of the number of pages in the book.  (per book, per user session) Pages you can print = 30% and pages from which you can copy = 15%.
    • Allows full book download for two weeks (14 days) using Adobe Digital Editions
    • You must register for an account

    Ebook Collection (EBSCOhost)

    Gale Virtual Reference Library

    • Allows PDF downloads of a single article or portions of a single article at a time

    Safari Books Online

    • Allows one chapter section to be printed at once (usually 2-4 pages) and does not permit PDF downloads.
    • Limited to eight (8) simultaneous users

    Related:

  • Students at SFU are subject to Canada's Copyright Act and SFU's Copyright Policies when doing coursework and creating assignments including papers, projects, artworks and presentations. Students can use the fair dealing and educational exceptions when using copyright protected works in assignments for classes (see Infographic for details).

    Students own copyright in the works that they create at SFU, and such assignments, presentations and projects cannot be copied without the student's permission, except in certain situations outlined in the Copyright Act (see the Fair Dealing Policy for details).

    Please note that theses and dissertations require different copyright considerations because they will be published; see the Copyright and your thesis page for further information.

    Instructors own copyright in their teaching materials such as presentation slides, exams, lecture notes and the delivery of the lecture itself, and students cannot copy these works without the instructor's permission, except under fair dealing or another exception in the Copyright Act.

    The Copyright Office provides information and assistance to students on our Students page and via email (copy@sfu.ca). We also provide a sample copyright statement for instructors to use in course syllabi here.

  • Under Policy R30.03, SFU's Intellectual Property Policy, instructors own copyright in their research and their teaching materials, including lectures (both written notes and the "performance" of the lecture), slide presentations and exams. This means that generally, students cannot film your lecture, copy your notes or slides, or post these materials online without your permission.

    However, students still have the users' rights outlined in the Copyright Act, which means that within the limits of fair dealing, they can copy short excerpts of your work without permission.

    Additionally, you are required to accommodate students who need teaching materials in alternate formats due to a disability. Students registered with the Centre for Students with Disabilities can record your entire lecture or copy your slides if they need to. These copies are for their own personal use only, though, and cannot be shared or posted online. Such students should identify themselves to you in advance. Contact the Centre for Students with Disabilities with any questions about these requirements.

    You are welcome to inform your students that they cannot record your lectures; the Copyright Office provides sample syllabus text you can use, or you can write your own.

    Contact the Copyright Office (copy@sfu.ca) with any questions.

Using copyright protected material in PowerPoint presentations

  • Under fair dealing you may include another person’s work, including images, in your PowerPoint presentations that you display to students enrolled in your course. You can copy and display an entire single image from a collection of images (e.g. a single photograph from a book of photographs), or up to 10% of a stand-alone image that is not part of a larger collection. You may also put this image in Canvas.

    Under the educational institution exceptions in the Copyright Act, you may display an entire stand-alone image that is not part of a larger collection of images. To do so you must ensure that there is not a commercially available copy (obtainable within a reasonable time and price) in the format required (S29.4 of Copyright Act). If you subsequently put this image in Canvas, you must destroy/remove the file from Canvas within 30 days of the end of the course. Simply making the file inaccessible is insufficient. (See S30.01 of the Copyright Act).

    See the Copyright Office's infographic for details.

  • Simon Fraser University instructors own copyright in their lectures, and students own copyright in their presentations and assignments, as per SFU Policy R30.03 Intellectual Property Policy, but you may not own the copyright to all of the content within your lecture or presentation. Many educational uses of copyright protected materials are allowed for through fair dealing and educational exceptions to the Copyright Act. However, what you can display in the classroom may be different from what you can distribute to students.

    It is important that access to the material is limited to the students enrolled in the course and that the copying limits of the Application of Fair Dealing under Policy R30.04 are respected if the slides will be handed out rather than just displayed in the classroom. If you need to make use of a greater volume of material than that which is permitted through fair dealing, you must:

    1. Remove copyright materials from the slides before creating the handouts,

    2. Request that SFU’s Copyright Officer evaluate whether a particular instance of copying or communication of a copyright-protected work is permitted under the fair dealing exception, or

    3. Seek express written permission from the copyright holder to copy and communicate that content.  Be sure to keep a copy of any permission you receive.

Using copyright protected material from the Internet

  • It depends on what you want to do. Materials on the Internet are treated the same under copyright law as any other copyright protected materials, so if you want to use them, they have to either fall within one of the Act’s exceptions (such as fair dealing or the educational exception relating to materials from the Internet), or be open access or in the public domain.

    Under the educational exception, you are permitted to copy, distribute, communicate or perform works found on the Internet to your students, provided that:

    1. The work is properly cited (e.g., source, author, performer, maker and/or broadcaster),
    2. The work is publicly available (i.e. access is not restricted by a technological protection measure),
    3. There is no clearly visible notice prohibiting the intended use (note that the copyright (c) symbol alone does not prohibit use), and
    4. It is apparent that the work was not copied or made available online in violation of the copyright owner's rights.

    If what you want to use isn’t from an open access or public domain source and does not fall into one of the Act’s exceptions you will have to obtain permission from the copyright owner. You should check the website’s ‘Terms of Use’ or ‘Legal Notices’ section to confirm what conditions apply to use of the website’s material, including whether educational use is explicitly prohibited. Some websites will allow non-commercial educational use of their materials.

  • A work enters the public domain only after copyright expires, or if the creator has designated the work as such. 

    Most material found on the Internet is protected just like any other material (unless otherwise indicated). Text, charts, graphs, tables, photographs, music, movies, graphics, postings to news groups, blogs, e-mail messages, images, video clips, and computer software do not lose copyright protection simply because they are posted on the Internet.  

    However, educators are allowed to copy, distribute, communicate, or perform, works found on the Internet to their students, provided that:

    1. The work is properly cited (e.g., source, author, performer, maker, and/or broadcaster),
    2. The work is publicly available (e.g., access is not restricted by a Technological Protection Measure),
    3. There is no clearly visible notice (not just the copyright symbol alone) prohibiting the intended use, and
    4. It is apparent that the work was not made available in violation of the copyright owner’s rights.
  • Content on the web is protected by copyright in the same way as print and other formats, even if there is no copyright symbol or notice. Linking directly to the web page containing the content you wish to use is almost always permitted, although you need to make sure the content you are linking to is not in itself infringing copyright. In addition, if the web page does not clearly identify the website and 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 your website is somehow affiliated with the other site. 

    If you have reason to believe that the web site may contain content posted without the permission of the copyright owner, you should avoid linking to it. In addition, you must comply with web site statements indicating that permission is required before material is reproduced or that it may not be reproduced at all. Such statements are typically found in sections titled ‘Terms of Use’ or ‘Legal Notices.’

  • If a video presentation is freely available on the open Internet (e.g., YouTube), then displaying such a video in an educational workshop or presentation is acceptable, provided that it is played live from the Internet rather than copied or downloaded. Similarly, displaying a live website from the open World Wide Web is permissible. Distributing links (even deep links) or URLs to online resources is appropriate, as long as security is not being circumvented and the material has been posted legally.

  • Yes, as long as the content has not been posted in an infringing manner and there is no stated restriction on using the material. Do not embed, or link to, any material that you know, or suspect, has been illegally posted.

Using copyright protected material in the learning management system, email and personal websites

The FAQs below explain what you can communicate to your students via the learning management system (Canvas) for both on-campus and online or distance education courses, and through email and other websites.

  • The licenses for some e-journals provided by the Library allow instructors to upload articles into secure learning management systems (LMS) such as Canvas. While there may be good reason to upload articles to the LMS, it is important to consider that doing so may mean that your students do not have the most recent version of the article. It is not unusual for publishers to make corrections or changes, such as adding supplementary material, to articles after initial publication. If such changes are made after a copy has been uploaded they will not be reflected in that copy. A direct link is the best way to ensure access to the most recent version of an article. Linking to the article also allows the Library to track use and obtain data about the importance of a particular journal to the campus.  

    Making Readings Available to Students describes several different ways to make required and supplementary readings available to students online and suggests the pros and cons of each option. Each option has specific benefits along with specific cautions, including copyright compliance. 

    While uploading and linking to articles in the LMS may be permitted by the licenses, it is important to remember that licenses generally do not permit you to upload to a website, or create links on a website, that is not part of the University’s secure network, and that is open to the world at large. None of the licenses that the Library has with publishers allows for uploading to, or linking from, websites that allow access without authentication. 

  • As long as you adhere to the amounts that may be copied under fair dealing you may scan and post it on SFU’s learning management system (LMS), Canvas. See the Application of Fair Dealing under Policy R30.04 for the copying limits. It is important to note that SFU's fair dealing policy does not allow you to post material to a website unless that website is password protected and restricted to students enrolled in your course. If you want to scan a copyright protected work for inclusion on an open (public) website, you will need to obtain permission from the copyright owner.

    If you do post copyright protected material, copied under fair dealing limits, include a clearly visible notice on all materials you post that states:
    This item has been copied under the Fair Dealing provisions of the Copyright Act as enumerated in SFU Appendix R30.04A - Application of Fair Dealing under Policy R30.04. You may not distribute, e-mail or otherwise communicate these materials to any other person.

  • There are two exceptions in the Copyright Act that can apply to this situation - fair dealing and educational exceptions. The Copyright Infographic spells out the possibilities and limitations of both of these exceptions.

    Under fair dealing you may post charts, diagrams or other images from textbooks, or other works, to SFU’s learning management system (Canvas), as long as you adhere to permitted amounts of material. If for example, you wish to post multiple images from a book, you may do so as long as those images amount to no more than 10% of the book (see the Application of Fair Dealing under Policy R30.04). It is important to note that if you wish to post such material to a website, that website must be password protected or otherwise restricted to students enrolled in your course.  

    Include a clearly visible notice on all materials you post using the fair dealing limits that states:

    This item has been copied under the Fair Dealing provisions of the Copyright Act as enumerated in SFU Appendix R30.04A - Application of Fair Dealing under Policy R30.04. You may not distribute, e-mail or otherwise communicate these materials to any other person.

    Under an educational exception in the Copyright Act you may display entire works in the classroom if necessary, if you are unable to find a commercially available version in the format you require. As well, under section 30.01 of the Copyright Act, you may post this same presentation in Canvas, but it must also be restricted to students enrolled in your course, and must be destroyed within 30 days from the end of the course.

    Include a clearly visible notice on all materials you post using the educational exception that states:

    This item has been copied under section 30.01 of the Copyright Act. You may not distribute, e-mail or otherwise communicate these materials to any other person. You must delete all copies of these materials within 30 days of the end of the course they pertain to.

  • Yes. Canvas, SFU's learning management system (LMS) is password protected and accessible only by students enrolled in a particular course. A publicly accessible website is accessible by the whole world. SFU's Fair Dealing Policy (Application of Fair Dealing Under Policy R30.04) provides parameters for making copyright protected materials available to your students, but specifically limits you to handing materials out in class, emailing them directly to your students, posting them in Canvas or including them in a course pack produced by the Bookstore. This policy is based on the fair dealing right in Canada's Copyright Act; wider distribution, such as on an open website, is generally considered less "fair." Additionally, some of the University's electronic subscriptions specifically permit articles and other materials to be posted only in restricted course management systems.

  • Yes, as long as the content has not been posted in an infringing manner and there is no stated restriction on using the material. Do not embed, or link to, any material that you know, or suspect, has been illegally posted.

  • In order to comply with Copyright Policy R30.04 (Appendix D), each semester a random sample of instructors will be asked to complete one of two Copyright Provision Recordkeeping Surveys (Survey A and Survey B), which will record the various provisions under which they have posted copyright protected material in Canvas.

    Copyright Policy appendix R30.04D Application of Appendix R30.04A (Fair Dealing Policy) to Learning Management Systems states:

    "If content is uploaded or posted to an LMS by faculty members or their staff, the faculty or staff may be required to identify the reason that they are entitled to post each work or excerpt (e.g. permission obtained from the copyright holder, public domain, fair dealing, other exemption under the Copyright Act). For certain content posted to the LMS (e.g. classroom presentations containing excerpts from a number of works) multiple reasons could apply."

    The Copyright Office is required by this policy to collect statistics on faculty and staff use of copyright protected material in Canvas. Uploading copyright protected material to Canvas is reproducing a work (making a copy) and therefore to post such material in Canvas an instructor must either have the permission of the copyright holder or be using an eligible exception in the Copyright Act, such as fair dealing.

    A small percentage of Canvas courses will be randomly selected each semester, and those instructors will be asked to complete an anonymous web survey based on the materials uploaded to their Canvas courses. One survey (Survey A) will ask what types of materials (e.g. course documents such as syllabi and lecture notes, readings such as articles and websites, images such as photographs and maps, or audiovisual materials such as movie clips and sound recordings) the instructor has uploaded, how often these materials include copyright protected works, how the instructor finds such materials, and what copyright provisions (e.g. fair dealing, public domain, Library license) have allowed the instructor to copy these materials. The other survey (Survey B) will preselect a small number of uploaded files from the instructor's Canvas course, and will ask for the copyright provision(s) used to copy each specific file. Neither survey should take more than ten to fifteen minutes to complete.

    This collection of statistics is a recordkeeping exercise which will show us how copyright protected materials are used on campus, and may also help us determine where more education or outreach may be required. This is not a compliance monitoring process. We will not be contacting or "investigating" anyone based on their responses; in fact both surveys are anonymous. Instructors will not be selected for either survey more than once per year.

    Information about what constitutes fair dealing and how instructors can use copyright protected materials in their teaching can be found on the Copyright for Instructors at SFU section of the copyright website. Please also see the Infographic, which concisely spells out how you can use copyright protected materials for teaching.

    Further information about the survey and how to complete it is available on the Copyright Provision Recordkeeping Survey page. Please send all questions about the survey to the Copyright Office at copy@sfu.ca.

Copyright and library reserves, electronic resources and interlibrary loan

  • The Simon Fraser University Library has contracts with a variety of vendors and publishers that provide the campus with thousands of electronic resources (databases, e-journals, e-books, etc.) costing millions of dollars per year. 

    In addition to paying for these resources, the Library negotiates license agreements that stipulate how and by whom a given resource may be used. Only currently registered faculty, students or staff will be registered with the proxy server for off-campus access. Access for the general public is made available through terminals within the Library. 

    Here are some rules of thumb for good practices and avoiding improper use. Improper use, known as a license violation, can result in the university’s temporary, or permanent, loss of access to a resource.

    Do's and don'ts

    Usually OK:

    Not OK:

    • Making a limited number of print or electronic copies for your personal use
    • Systematic or substantial printing, copying or downloading (such as entire journal issues)
    • Using materials for personal, instructional or research needs
    • Selling or re-distributing content, or providing access to someone outside of the university community, such as an employer
    • Sharing with SFU faculty, staff and students
    • Sharing with people other than registered SFU faculty, staff and students except via interlibrary loan.
    • Posting links to specific content
    • Posting actual content or articles to third party web sites or listservs
     
    • Modifying or altering the contents of licensed resources in any way

    Always acknowledge your source on any published or unpublished document when you use data found on electronic resources. 

    Please note: Some license agreements make express allowances for electronic reserves (including posting to a learning management system), course packs and multiple copies for classroom use. Other licenses may prohibit one or more of these activities. If you have questions about a particular resource, please consult the Library’s Electronic Journals listing and the Journal Articles & Databases link. Descriptions specify the allowable terms of use to copy material for use in electronic reserves, course packs and interlibrary loan. If you have questions about a particular resource, please contact the Electronic Resources Librarian.

Using copyright protected material in course packs

  • A course pack is a bound compilation of works from more than one source. The Bookstore can assist you in producing a course pack. Please contact the Custom Course Materials Coordinator for more information on how to create a course pack as well as important deadlines. 

    Note: There are some special cases, such as reproducing out-of-print books or rare/fragile materials, which may take longer for copyright clearance. When you place your order, the Custom Course Materials Coordinator can assess what copyright clearance may be required. Obtaining clearances for such materials can take quite some time (an average of 6-8 weeks or more) so ensure you submit your requests early to be assured that your course pack will be available in time. You will need to comply with any deadlines as set out by the Bookstore.

  • If you post a copy to Canvas, SFU's learning management system (LMS), and fair dealing covers it, it is likely that the copy can be included in a course pack without permission. If, however, the copy posted to Canvas is permitted under a license agreement between SFU and the publisher, it is necessary to consult the license agreement to determine whether a copy may also be included in a course pack. Some copyright holders will grant users permission to put material on password-secured websites, like SFU's learning management system, but not to put the material in a course pack. The Custom Course Materials Coordinator must confirm whether permission is required separately, even if the material is already on Canvas.

  • Copyright owners and creators of works have the right to charge a fee for the use of their materials unless fair dealing, another Copyright Act exception or a Library license otherwise covers the use. The cost of course packs varies depending on the copyright fees charged by the copyright owner, the number of pages and documents, and the volume of course packs being produced. Those costs are generally reflected in the selling price of the course pack, over which SFU has no control. Copyright fees are collected on behalf of the copyright owners and remitted to them.

  • No. University policy only allows for incurred costs to be recouped on course pack sales to students. Commercial copy shops, in order to maintain a profitable business, charge fees beyond simple cost recovery. The generation of profit from the sale of reproductions of copyright protected works made under fair dealing is not permitted.

    SFU Policy Appendix R30.04A - Application of Fair Dealing under Policy R30.04, in section 4.6, states: "Any fee charged by the University for copying or communicating a short excerpt from a copyright protected work must be intended to cover only the costs to the University, including overhead costs."

    Please contact the Custom Course Materials Coordinator for more information on how to create a course pack as well as important deadlines.

Using copyright protected audio and video material in the classroom

  • 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 technological protection measure (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, or
      • You have reason to believe that the work was copied or posted online in violation of the copyright owner’s rights.

    If you want to show a video in class and need assistance in obtaining video programming, please contact the Media Resource Centre in the SFU Library for more information.

  • Yes. The Copyright Act allows you to play a sound recording or live radio broadcasts in class as long as it is:

    1. For educational purposes,
    2. Not for profit,
    3. On University premises, and
    4. 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, licenses must be obtained from the copyright collectives SOCAN and Re:Sound.

  • If a video presentation is freely available on the open Internet (e.g., YouTube), then displaying such a video in an educational workshop or presentation is acceptable, provided that it is played live from the Internet rather than copied or downloaded. Similarly, displaying a live website from the open World Wide Web is permissible. Distributing links (even deep links) or URLs to online resources is appropriate, as long as security is not being circumvented and the material has been posted legally.

  • Yes, as long as the content has not been posted in an infringing manner and there is no stated restriction on using the material. Do not embed, or link to, any material that you know, or suspect, has been illegally posted.

Compliance

  • Use of copyrighted materials is protected under the law in Canada and we are subject to the Canadian Copyright Act. Additionally, the University has implemented policies, standards and guidelines that, as members of the university community, we are required to follow.

    Simon Fraser University respects intellectual property and intellectual property laws, and will take appropriate steps to ensure consistent application of legal requirements throughout the University. It is the responsibility of each member of the university community to comply with copyright law and respect copyright ownership and licensing.  

    Please note that staff at the University Library, Archives, Bookstore, Centre for Online and Distance Education, Teaching and Learning Centre, Creative Services and Document Solutions have a professional responsibility to respect copyright law and may refuse to copy or print something if it is thought to be an infringement of copyright law.

  • A person who does something with a copyright protected work that only the copyright owner is entitled to do, and does so without the permission of the copyright owner, infringes copyright and can be held liable. Either civil or criminal penalties can be imposed for copyright infringement. Criminal penalties can include fines and/or imprisonment and depend on the seriousness of the infringement. While criminal penalties are usually reserved for those engaged in piracy for profit, civil penalties, including an order to pay damages or an injunction to cease infringing, can be imposed for other types of infringement. Monetary damages could be awarded to the copyright owner for loss of income occasioned by the infringement or for other losses. Statutory damages for all infringements for all works involved are limited to $5,000 if the infringements are for a non-commercial purpose. However, statutory damages increase to a maximum of $20,000 for all infringements of each work involved when the infringements are for a commercial purpose. 

    Generally, the person who actually infringes the rights of the copyright owner will be held liable for the infringement. In the absence of the fair dealing exception or a license, anyone who copies a copyright protected work (e.g. scans a book, photocopies an article) without permission will be held liable for that infringement, whether that person be a student, staff member or faculty member. Staff may copy materials at the request of others (e.g., a faculty member or a student). In that case, both the person who actually infringes copyright (the staff member) and the person who requested the staff member to so infringe (the faculty member or the student) can be held liable for the infringement. In addition, you may place liability on the University if as an employee you copy works in an infringing manner in the course of your employment. Before you engage in any copying or use of copyright protected materials, please consider the parties whom you might be impacting. Please follow all University policies to ensure proper use of equipment for copying works. 

    In addition to potential liability, staff at the University Libraries, Archives, Bookstore, Centre for Online and Distance Education, Teaching and Learning Centre, Creative Services and Document Solutions have a professional responsibility to respect copyright law and may refuse to copy or print something if it is thought to be an infringement of copyright law.

  • Simon Fraser University copyright policies align with the Government of Canada’s copyright legislation (Copyright Act) and outline the institution’s requirements of faculty, staff and students to comply with all legal requirements. 

    Simon Fraser University is committed to compliance in all copyright matters. It is the responsibility of each individual to comply with copyright laws and respect copyright ownership and licensing. The use of copyright protected materials without proper consent may be actionable under both the Copyright Act and the Criminal Code. In addition to any actions that might be taken by any copyright owner or its licensing agent, the University will take any breaches of its copyright policy very seriously. In the case of employees, disciplinary procedures may be applied. In the case of students, disciplinary action for academic and/or non-academic misconduct may be applied.

Copyright contacts

  • The Bookstore obtains copyright permissions for course packs; the Library obtains permissions for its electronic collection of non-journal materials (e-books, streaming video, music, etc.) as well as journals and article indexes and databases; and the Centre for Online and Distance Education (CODE) obtains permission for fully on-line and distance education courses offered through that program. For other uses, you may obtain permission yourself by simply emailing or writing a letter to the copyright owner.