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Copyright & You

Can I Use Resources from the Internet?

The Copyright Modernization Act,  Section 30.04, allows educational institutions, for educational purposes, to reproduce, save, download and share publicly available materials that are on the Internet, under certain conditions.

Publicly available internet materials can be used in routine classroom activities, such as incorporating online text or images into assignments, performing music or plays online for peers, exchanging materterials with instructors or peers, or reposting a work on a password protected course website.

Instructors & students can use material from the Internet under the following conditions:

  • must be for educational & training purposes
  • the material is publicly available through the Internet
  • there is no clear and visible notice on the website or on the material itself that prohibits the use or reproduction of the material for educational purposes (the notice has to be more than just a copyright symbol) ; Note:  it is a good idea to check the website's  'Terms and Conditions' or 'Terms of Use'  often found at the bottom of the page to determine if there any prohibitions on use
  • the material was legitimately posted; i.e. you do not suspect that the material  was posted without the consent of the owner of the material (e.g. the website is generally reputable and the person who posted the material  appears to have a connection with the content
  • you do not  break or circumvent a digital lock (e.g. a password)  to access or obtain a copy of the work

When using material from the Internet, the Act states that the  following must be mentioned:

  • the source; and
  • name of author, performer, maker or broadcaster (if provided in the source)

Can I link to a freely available internet resources on my course website?

Generally Yes. Making a link does not constitute making or distributing a copy and is permissible unless a site expressly prohibits such linking. You should not link to a resource that you know, or suspect, is not legally posted.

 Can I print materials from the Internet to hand out to my students in class?

Yes.  If the work meets the conditions mentioned above,  you can make multiple copies of articles found ont he internet and distribute them in class.

If in doubt or if the site does prohibit,  an alternative is to post a link to the content.  Also, there are online resources licensed under Creative Commons, in which creators have permitted use of their resources with attribution, or developed as part of the Open Educational Resources.  Check the website for restrictions.

Can play podcasts in class?  Does it make a difference if they are freely available on the web?

It depends on the terms and conditions of use.  Just because a podcast is freely available on the web does not mean that you can play it in class or in public.  Some websites such as CBC provide podcasts for personal, non-commercial use and allow linking to their resources but playing them in class is not permitted.  Check the terms and conditions on the website of the digital resource you want to use.