FAQs Browse

Can I play music in class?

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.

Can I post copies of copyright protected works to SFU’s learning management system or email them to students?

Yes, you can do both if you adhere to the amount that may be copied under fair dealing or another exception in the Copyright Act. Refer to the Copyright and Teaching Infographic for details and limits.

Include a clearly visible notice on all materials you post or email, 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.

Can I post my slides in Canvas if they contain figures, diagrams and other images from a book?

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.

Additionally, slides provided by textbook publishers can almost always be posted, according to their Terms of Use.

Can I print or copy special document sizes and types at the Library?

Colour printing, scanning, and copying

You can print, scan, and copy in colour and black and white at all SFU Library locations, using the multi-function printer/copier/scanner machines. See How and where do I print, scan, and photocopy in the library? for details.

Double-side printing

The default printer setting is double-sided.

To change to single-sided printing:

  • in MS Office, go to file > print > printer properties > printing shortcuts > general everyday printing > okay
  • in a web browser, go to file > print > properties > print type: one sided > okay

Oversize pages

SFU Burnaby

All of the multi-function printer/copier/scanner machines will output 11 x17 inch printouts.

SFU Vancouver

Two of the copiers at the Belzberg Library will make 11 X 17 (ledger) sized copies.

SFU Surrey

There is no oversize copier at the Fraser Library. For oversized copies, go to Document Solutions (Mezzanine 2590).


You cannot print onto transparencies on Library copiers/printers/scanners.

Check with local photocopy shops.

Can I put a textbook for my course on Library Reserves?

Yes, original works can be placed on reserve without concern for copyright clearance. The Library currently reviews course textbook lists and places items held in the collection on reserve to ensure the best access for students. See Reserves Services for Faculty

You may add a paper copy of a work to the library reserve system according to the Application of Fair Dealing under Policy R30.04, another exception under the Copyright Act or a Library license, up to a maximum of 3 copies for every 30 students.

Can I record my instructor's lecture to watch later?

Instructors are the authors and copyright owners of their course materials (this includes things like lecture notes, PowerPoint presentations and exams). The written version of a lecture as well as the verbal delivery (i.e. performance) of that lecture are both protected by copyright. Since a copyright owner has the right to control what can be done with their works, you may not record an entire lecture (or copy entire lecture notes or exams) without the prior permission of your instructor.

There are, however, certain users' rights included in the Copyright Act which allow the copying of a copyright protected work, in specific situations. Under fair dealing, you may copy a short excerpt of a copyright protected work for purposes including private study, education and research.

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

Please note that if you require your course materials in a different format due to a disability you can contact the Centre for Accessible Learning (CAL) (formerly: the Centre for Students with Disabilities) for assistance with such accommodation.

Can I record my lecture for students if it contains copyright protected content (including images/audiovisual material)?

Just as it is legal to show slides containing images in class, it is generally legal to show them in a lecture recorded for students, as long as the video is shared only with students in the class through a password-protected course website such as Canvas.

As with slides shown in person, you should incorporate material within the fair dealing and related guidelines or license agreements for the content (such as those for content held by SFU Library). Using openly-licensed images, such as those with Creative Commons licenses, makes this easy by providing broad permission for use.

Use of brief clips of films or audio recordings (i.e., up to 10% of the work) may be permitted under fair dealing but you should not record an entire show, film, or audio recording within a lecture recording.

The Library has streaming audiovisual collections that you can link to for students to access themselves, and if we don't have the material you need we can convert a DVD to a streaming file and make it available to the students in your class. This is done under the distance and online education exception (s. 30.01) and in accordance with the technological protection measures section (s. 41.1) of the Copyright Act.

Can I request (or put a hold on) a reserve book?

Yes. For information on requesting (or holding) reserve material, see Borrowing Materials from the Reserves Collection.

Can I return books from the public library here?We advise against it. The book will be returned to the public library, but it may take some time and you may be fined. Most of the surrounding area public libraries permit the return of material to other public libraries outside their own system. Click here to see which libraries are part of the Interlink agreement.
Can I show a YouTube video in class?

If a video is freely available on the open Internet (e.g., on YouTube), then displaying such a video in an educational class or workshop is acceptable, provided that it is played live from the Internet rather than copied or downloaded. Similarly, displaying a live website (i.e., in the browser) 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. To determine that the material was posted legally, with the permission of the copyright owner, check on the creator's or owner's own website or channel, or check for ads before or during the video (ads often indicate that the copyright owner has given permission after the fact, even if the video was posted by someone else).