Copyright resources and links for instructors

The information and links below provide additional resources for instructors using copyright-protected materials.

Copyright tools and forms

Copyright and Teaching Infographic
Explains how much of a work can be copied for teaching purposes under SFU's Fair Dealing Policy and the Copyright Act's exceptions for educational institutions.    Also available as plain text.

Copyright Decision Tree
Provides steps to determine whether you can use a copyright protected work in the way you would like to, both for teaching and for other purposes. Use this in conjunction with the Copyright Information Graphic above and other information on this website.    Also available as plain text.

Your (Copy)Rights as a Teaching Assistant
Outlines copyright considerations for TAs, including your rights and responsibilities when creating and co-creating teaching materials.    Also available as plain text.

Copyright for SFU Students tutorial in Canvas
This tutorial introduces students to copyright and how it affects their course work. It describes options for including third-party material in assignments and presentations, including applying fair dealing and other Copyright Act provisions, requesting permission from copyright owners, and finding openly-licensed and copyright-free material. The tutorial also explains students' rights as owners of copyright in their papers and other works, and limits on what students can do with instructors' teaching materials. This tutorial is available for importing into any course from the Canvas Commons. In the Canvas Commons, search for the tutorial by title (Copyright for SFU Students) and follow the instructions here to import it.
Note: the tutorial was last updated in July 2018--please import it again to make sure you're using the latest version.

Canadian Public Domain Flowchart
A visual tool by the Copyright Office at the University of Alberta (2023, licensed CC BY) to help determine when the copyright term for a work expires, the work enters the public domain in Canada and it can be used freely (within Canada) without permission or payment of royalties.

Technological Protection Measures (TPM) Fact Sheet
Describes what technological protection measures are and their copyright implications.

Sample copyright statement for your course syllabus
​Provides text for instructors wanting to inform students of their copyright rights and responsibilities, specifically relating to use and sharing of the instructor's teaching materials.

Fair Dealing Statement
When reproducing material for your classes under fair dealing, please include the following statement:
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.

Requesting the removal of your teaching materials from tutoring websites
The Copyright Office can assist you if your teaching materials have been uploaded to websites such as Course Hero and StuDocu without your permission.

Copyright and 3D Printing
Provides guidelines for creating your own 3D printing designs and objects, or using others' 3D files to print objects.

Departmental Re-use of Educational Resources
A Memorandum of Agreement to be used and modified by instructors and departments who want a more formal agreement covering the sharing and re-use of educational materials developed by an instructor.

Provenance Document for Tracking Changes to Educational Resources
If two or more colleagues wish to share teaching materials, it is important to keep track of contributions, changes, and permissions. Please use this provenance document as a place to record all of this information.

Mysterious and perplexing SFU Copyright Office posters
Information about this SFU Copyright Office campaign using magic show posters in the public domain, created by SFU Library Communications.

Copyright workshop videos and slides

The Copyright Office welcomes requests for presentations or workshops for your department or class year-round in any length and format, such as full-length workshops, shorter meeting presentations or more casual "lunch & learns."

Copyright Workshop Videos by the Copyright Office
These videos are based on our faculty workshops, and include Copyright Basics (an introduction to the basic elements of copyright law in Canada), and Teaching and Copyright (a two-part look at finding and sharing material in your courses). Note: these videos have not been updated to reflect the 2022 change to the general copyright term in Canada. See this FAQ for details.

Copyright in the Classroom workshop for instructors slides by the Copyright Office.
These slides are from our regular workshops for instructors, and provide an overview of copyright and key provisions for teaching.

Copyright in the Virtual Classroom by the Copyright Office
These slides (and version with detailed notes) were developed to support instructors teaching remotely during COVID-19. Note: these slides have not been updated to reflect the 2022 change to the general copyright term in Canada. See this FAQ for details.

Copyright for SFU TAs by the Copyright Office
This Canvas tutorial introduces Teaching Assistants to copyright guidelines for finding and sharing material in your courses, as well as your own rights when you create teaching materials and when you collaborate with other instructors.

About Creative Commons Licenses workshop slides by the Copyright Office.

SFU copyright management information

SFU Copyright Policies, including the Fair Dealing Policy
Informing you of the University's and your responsibilities regarding copyright and your work (as a student, instructor or staff member) at SFU.

SFU Copyright in Teaching Survey
Describes the purpose and process of this copyright statistics survey, which will be sent to a small random sample of instructors using Canvas each fall and spring semester. The survey is anonymous, and helps the Copyright Office understand how copyright protected materials are being used by instructors.

SFU copyright resources

Electronic Collection Information for Librarians and Faculty (SFU Library)
Describes the suitability of certain non-journal electronic resources for use on Library Reserves. The Library subscribes to, or owns outright, myriad non-journal electronic resources. Search for them by format using the "Find Databases by database title and description" search box at Journal Articles & Databases. These resources can be linked to in course listings, electronic reserves, course websites and the learning management system. Additionally, terms of use information for journals and article indexes and databases licensed by the SFU Library can be viewed via the Electronic Journals listing and the Journal Articles & Databases links. Descriptions specify the allowable terms of use to copy material for use in electronic reserves, course packs and interlibrary loan.

Making Readings Available to Students (SFU Library)
Describes several different ways to make required and supplementary readings available to students and suggests the benefits and cautions associated with each option.

The SFU Copyright Clearance Fund
This fund provides support to instructors needing to copy a small number of course readings that exceed fair dealing.

Text versions of infographics

Full-text versions of the infographics above.

Copyright and Teaching Infographic (text version)

Using copyright protected materials for teaching at SFU

SFU employees are responsible for abiding by Canada's Copyright Act and the University's copyright policies. These guidelines apply to teaching at SFU only. All works copied must be legally obtained. Works must be properly cited.

Licenses for online resources govern how they can be used. See Article Databases and A-Z Journals on the SFU Library website.

Using a short excerpt? Follow these fair dealing guidelines

Under fair dealing you may copy or distribute a short excerpt of a copyright protected work for the purposes of research, private study, education, parody, satire, criticism, review or news reporting, as a:

  • class handout,
  • email message,
  • posting in Canvas, or
  • part of a course pack sold through the SFU Bookstore.

Copying multiple short excerpts from the same copyright protected work, with the intention of reproducing amounts beyond the fair dealing limits, is prohibited.

Textual materials

You can copy up to 10% of the work OR

  • 1 chapter from a book (Note: you may not copy an entire poem or short story from a collection),
  • 1 article from a journal issue,
  • 1 article or page from a newspaper issue, or
  • 1 entry from a reference work (e.g. encyclopedia, dictionary).

Audio and video

You can copy up to 10% of the work OR 1 track from an album, as long as you are not breaking a technological protection measure (TPM). Examples of TPMs include passwords and regional encoding.


You can copy 1 image from a compilation (e.g. coffee table book, atlas) OR up to 10% of a stand-alone image (e.g. painting, poster, wall map). You cannot copy an entire stand-alone image.

Internet materials

You can copy a short excerpt up to the fair dealing limits according to the type of media.

Want to use more? Use one of these exceptions from the Copyright Act

Textual materials

You can reproduce the entire work for display in the classroom or for use in exams if a copy in the required format is not readily commercially available.

Audio and video

You can play the entire work (e.g. DVD, CD) in the classroom.


You can reproduce the entire image for display in the classroom or for use in exams if a copy in the required format is not readily commercially available.

Internet materials

You can reproduce an entire work from the Internet as long as you are not breaking a technological protection measure and there is no "clearly visible notice" prohibiting copying.

If you don't see your use on this chart contact the SFU Copyright Office for assistance ( and visit

Copyright Decision Tree (text version)

SFU employees have the responsibility to abide by Canada’s Copyright Act and by the University’s own copyright policies.

This decision tree will help you determine whether you can use a copyright protected work in the way you would like to.

Is the work protected by copyright? 

Material not protected by copyright includes material in the public domain and material lacking in creativity or originality such as data, facts or ideas. The FAQs at can help you.

  • Yes (go to next step)
  • No (use the work)

Are you the creator of the work? 

If so, do you own copyright in the work? Or have you retained the right to use it for this purpose, or to use a different version (e.g. a pre-print)?

  • Yes (use the work or the specific version allowed)
  • No (go to next step)

What do you want to do with the work? Is the work licensed for this type of use? 

(E.g. Library license, Open Access, Creative Commons)

  • Yes (use the work and comply with conditions of license)
  • No (go to next step)

Is there a licensing agreement or statement specifically disallowing this use of the work? 

(E.g. website terms of use, restrictions on Library license)

  • Yes (find a different source for the same work without the restriction OR go to "If you are unable to use this material")
  • No (go to next step)

Is the work protected by a technological protection measure (TPM)? 

(E.g. password or download-blocker)

  • Yes (find a different source for the same work without TPM (e.g. scan a print version instead of downloading a pdf) OR go to "If you are unable to use this material")
  • No (go to next step)

Does fair dealing or another Copyright Act exception apply? 

See the Instructors section at for what you can do with copyright protected works for teaching purposes, or contact the Copyright Office ( with any questions.

  • Yes (use the work and comply with conditions in the Act)
  • No (go to next step)

If you are unable to use this material

You could:

  • ask the copyright holder for permission to use the work in this way,
  • adapt the material, repurpose the data in your own way or paraphrase (with attribution in each case),
  • provide a link to the work instead,
  • remove the work, or
  • use a different work.

All works must be legally obtained. Works must be properly cited. 07/2019.

Your (Copy)rights as a Teaching Assistant (text version)

Employees of SFU own the copyright in materials they create, unless a contract or policy says otherwise. The copyright in teaching materials specifically belongs to the creator (SFU Policy R30.03 Intellectual Property Policy). Copyright protects written works, artworks, music, and film/video.

Add a copyright statement to let people know you own copyright in the work, e.g., “©2022 Your Name.”

If you want to share your work and encourage others to use and build upon it, consider creating an open educational resource (OER).

What does this mean when I’m working with another instructor or TA?

Who owns copyright when multiple creators collaborate on a new work? Creators jointly own copyright.

Who owns copyright when you build upon or adapt someone else's work? Original creator owns copyright in their work; you own copyright in parts you create/add.

Who owns copyright when you include someone else's work (e.g., images, poems, video clips, maps)? Original creator owns copyright in that work.

What do I need to know about using someone else’s work in my teaching?

  • Use the Copyright Decision Tree plus the Copyright Infographic to understand what you can and can’t copy for teaching and how you can use it.
  • Use openly-licensed work such as work with a Creative Commons license. Open licenses provide up-front permission to use a work in a variety of ways.
  • Use Library e-reserves or link to articles, eBooks, and other resources licensed by SFU Library (details here).
  • Cite the work you use, and indicate if you made any changes to the work (e.g., “Adapted from A. Author. (2022). Article. Journal 1(1), p. 1.”).

What can/can’t students do with my work?

  • Students have fair dealing rights, for example they can download or print out your slides or other teaching materials to study from or to annotate.
  • Students can take notes from your lectures; they own copyright in notes taken in their own words.
  • Students don’t have the right to share your materials outside the class without your permission.
    • If your materials have been posted on a tutoring site (or anywhere else online), contact the Copyright Office for assistance having them removed.​​​​​
  • Use our syllabus statement to inform students of their rights and responsibilities.