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Copyright protects the form in which literary, artistic, musical and dramatic works are expressed.

Copyright Guidance for Transitioning Your Course Online


Questions or Assistance?- email:


Copyright protects the form in which literary, artistic, musical and dramatic works are expressed. In Canada, copyright exists once a work is expressed in fixed form; no special registration needs to take place. Copyright usually resides with the creator of the work. Copyright exists in most work for 50 years after the death of the creator.

The University of Calgary encourages access to works while ensuring that the rights of creators are respected in accordance with the Copyright Act. It is the responsibility of each individual to ensure compliance with copyright regulations.

For more information, contact the Copyright Office.



Educational exceptions

Educational exceptions in the Canadian Copyright Act permit certain activities for the purposes of education or training on the premises of an educational institution. These exception are outlined below.

Section 29.4 (1) - Reproduction for instruction

It is not an infringement of copyright for an educational institution or a person acting under its authority to reproduce a work, or do any other act in order to display it for the purposes of education or training on campus.

Section 29.4 (2) Reproduction for examinations, etc.

It is not an infringement of copyright for an educational institution or person acting under its authority to reproduce, transform, perform or communicate by telecommunication a work or other subject matter for a test or examination.

NOTE: Section 29.4 (1) and (2) do not apply if a commercial copy of the work or other subject-matter is available on the Canadian market within a reasonable time, for a reasonable price and can be located with reasonable effort.

Section 29.5 – Performances

It is not an infringement of copyright for an educational institution or person acting under its authority to perform: a live performance (e.g. dramatic, literary or live radio/communication); sound recording; or cinematographic work as long as it takes place on campus for educational or training purposes and not for profit and before an audience primarily made up of students, instructors or persons directly responsible for establishing curriculum at the institution.

NOTE: Sound recordings and cinematographic works must legal, non-infringing copies.

Section 29.6 News and commentary

It is not an infringement of copyright for an educational institution or person acting under its authority to make a copy of a news program or news commentary program at the time of broadcast for the purposes of performing the copy on campus for educational or training purposes before an audience primarily made up of students.

NOTE: Recording must be a lawful copy.

Section 30.4 Work available through Internet

It is not an infringement of copyright for an educational institution or person acting under its authority to copy, communicate or perform work or other subject-matter available through the Internet on campus for educational or training purposes as long as the following conditions are met.

  • the source is acknowledged, including, if available and applicable, the author, performer, maker and/or broadcaster
  • the content is not protected by a technological protection measure which prevents access, copying, communicating or performing the work
  • there is no clearly visible notice accompanying the content which prohibits educational use
  • the material has been legally posted, made available by the copyright holder or with their consent.

NOTE: Section 30.4 permits the copying and communicating of a complete work as long as the conditions are met.

Digital Locks

Digital locks or technological protection measures (TPMs) as they referred to in the Canadian Copyright Act, control access and uses of works.

Fair Dealing Guidelines (adapted from AUCC document dated October 9, 2012)

The fair dealing provision in the Copyright Act permits use of a copyright-protected work without permission from the copyright owner or the payment of copyright royalties. To qualify for fair dealing, two tests must be passed.

First, the “dealing” must be for a purpose stated in the Copyright Act: research, private study, criticism, review, news reporting, education, satire or parody. Educational use of a copyright-protected work passes the first test.

The second test is that the dealing must be “fair.” In landmark decisions in 2004 and in 2012, the Supreme Court of Canada provided guidance as to what this test means in educational institutions.

These Fair Dealing Guidelines apply fair dealing in non-profit universities and provides reasonable safeguards for the owners of copyright-protected works in accordance with the Copyright Act and the Supreme Court decisions.


  1. Teachers, instructors, professors and staff members in non-profit universities may communicate and reproduce, in paper or electronic form, short excerpts from a copyright-protected work for the purposes of research, private study, criticism, review, news reporting, education, satire or parody.
  2. Copying or communicating short excerpts from a copyright-protected work under this Fair Dealing Policy for the purpose of news reporting, criticism or review must mention the source and, if given in the source, the name of the author or creator of the work.
  3. A copy of a short excerpt from a copyright-protected work may be provided or communicated to each student enrolled in a class or course:
    1. as a class handout
    2. as a posting to a learning or course management system that is password protected or otherwise restricted to students of the university
  4. A short excerpt means:
    1. up to 10% of a copyright-protected work (including a literary work, musical score, sound recording, and an audiovisual work)
    2. one chapter from a book
    3. a single article from a periodical
    4. an entire artistic work (including a painting, print, photograph, diagram, drawing, map, chart, and plan) from a copyright-protected work containing other artistic works
    5. an entire newspaper article or page
    6. an entire single poem or musical score from a copyright-protected work containing other poems or musical scores
    7. an entire entry from an encyclopedia, annotated bibliography, dictionary or similar reference work provided that in each case, no more of the work is copied than is required in order to achieve the allowable purpose.
  5. Copying or communicating multiple short excerpts from the same copyright-protected work, with the intention of copying or communicating substantially the entire work, is prohibited.
  6. Copying or communicating that exceeds the limits in these Fair Dealing Guidelines may be referred to a supervisor or other person designated by the university for evaluation. An evaluation of whether the proposed copying or communication is permitted under fair dealing will be made based on all relevant circumstances.
  7. Any fee charged by the university for communicating or copying a short excerpt from a copyright-protected work must be intended to cover only the costs of the university, including overhead costs.
  8. All third party reading materials must be sent to the Copyright Office for review to determine if fair dealing applies or if permissions must still be sought.

Application Documents

(as adopted from AUCC, Sept 1, 2013)

Text, images, video and music are usually copyright material whether published or found on the Internet. Ensure that all material used in coursework and handouts follows the principles of the Copyright Act.

There are few educational exemptions in this Act. However, you may scan material into a PowerPoint presentation to be projected in class without requesting permission.

Electronic resources purchased by Libraries and Cultural Resources

In general, follow the relevant contract, licence or agreement. Where use is permitted, a statement of attribution should always be displayed on copies. EBook Permissions by Platform.

Other electronic resources (e.g. DVD, Internet material)

Provide a URL to the website. If printing material, contact the copyright owner for use unless noted otherwise on the material. Just because something is posted on the web does not mean it is always free to use.

Course packs involving material compiled from various sources to be sold or distributed to students

  • Submit original materials and a course pack log or detailed list of citations to the Copyright Office or Bound and Copied. The Copyright Office will provide copyright clearance and negotiate permissions, as needed.
  • Use links to digital material to avoid royalty and printing charges.
  • Use public domain and Open Access materials. Include them on the photocopy log and note that they are public domain or Open Access, so royalties will not be added.
  • Use your own work. Do not include this on photocopy log, but do mark the work accordingly.

Royalty-Free/Educational Use

The following links will take you to content that can be used royalty free. Check the terms of use for each resource, as some have restrictions (e.g. non-commercial, attribution) or terms may change without notice.


  • Project Gutenberg — Free electronic books (Ebooks or Etexts)
  • The Online Books Page — 25,000+ free books
  • Open-Access Text Archive — Restrictions vary on materials

Educational Materials

  • Open Educational Resources — For students, teachers and self-learners
  • Creative Commons Educational Resources
  • MIT OpenCourseware


  • Prelinger Archives
  • Community Video
  • Creative Commons Video


  • Bigfoto
  • Flickr Creative Commons — "Some Rights Reserved"
  • Images Canada
  • Pics4Learning — Copyright-friendly images for education
  • Wikimedia Commons


  • Public Domain Music — Links to sheet music, music downloads, etc.
  • Freeplay Music
  • Mutopia Project
  • Creative Commons Audio — Links to a variety of music licensed with "Some Rights Reserved"

Library licensed materials

Electronic materials (e.g. journal articles, eBooks, etc.) available to students, instructors and staff through library databases and e-collections are under licensing terms which dictate if and how copies can be made and distributed. These licensing agreements are negotiated directly with publishers and vendors and include detail how these works can be shared (e.g. via persistent link, posting a PDF to D2L, etc.) It is important to review the licensing terms before sharing these works. Contact the Copyright Office if you have questions related to licenses or need assistance with creating persistent links.

NOTE: Educational exceptions in the Canadian Copyright Act do not apply to library licensed materials. These materials must be used according to the contractual obligations agreed upon by the institution.

Library Reserve

More information on reserve policies and deadlines can be found at

NOTE: Please inform the Copyright Office if you are relying on eBooks that are currently available through the library. The Copyright Office will review the licensing to determine how many students can simultaneously access the material. Additional licensing will be requested - if available.

In general, follow relevant contract, license or agreement and copyright law. The term of copyright in Canada is the life of the creator + remainder of calendar year of death + 50 years.

NOTE: Where use is permitted, a statement of attribution (source of image, photographer, owner of work, where appropriate, should always be displayed with the image).

Libraries and Cultural Resources digital image databases, such as ARTstor, provide access to over a million high-resolution digital images as well as presentation creation tools for teaching. To check for permissions for ARTstor images, check the licensing database.

In addition, Libraries and Cultural Resources has acquired a further 67,000+ high resolution digital images and provides access to these from our in-house Image Catalogue. These digital images are licensed for educational use and have authentication for remote access. Information on copyright permissions for these images can be found as follows: Saskia, Archivision, Hartill, Ehrentraut, Art Gallery of Ontario, Davis, Bridgeman, Harappa. A list of all licensed image databases can be found at

The slide collection of 250,000 slides is being phased out. A selection of 20th/21st century slides will be browsable in Visual and Performing Arts library, 3rd floor, TFDL (Taylor Family Digital Library). The images represented in these collections include significant objects of visual culture and architecture from around the world and from prehistoric civilization to the modern area.

Royalty free images that you may want to use are available on various sites such as Wikimedia, National Geographic, Flickr as well as those licensed from Microsoft as part of your university access.

Permitted uses:

  • Search, view, print and download images for research and private study and to link to individual images, image groups or page images with electronic bookmarking
  • Instructors may project these images ad part of their lectures at the University of Calgary
  • Instructors may include images posted to a course management system or handouts with proper credit included
  • Inclusion of print images in a paper is acceptable if that paper is not copied and distributed outside the institution

Non-permitted uses:

  • Posting to a public website
  • Publishing or distributing images in any manner for commercial uses or uses that are made widely available, without obtaining permission
  • Altering the work in any way, unless the creator has waived these moral rights

For further information, email Rowena Wake (

Print course packs

The Students’ Union Bound and Copied is the authorized course pack producer on campus. The Copyright Office and Bound and Copied work together to ensure all course packs are copyright compliant prior to being printed.

Instructors wishing to produce a print course pack must submit their materials to the Copyright Office for review.

Download a PDF of the Theses Copyright Guidelines.

Copyright review procedures for course materials

The Copyright Office will review and provide copyright clearance for your materials – a process that is usually completed within a few days.

Send your course materials to or contact the Copyright Office for assistance if the materials have already been posted to D2L.

Materials must be reviewed each semester they are used. Permissions need to be renewed and licensing agreements and links may have changed in the interim. Do not assume that previously used materials are still cleared for use.

If you have previously submitted materials to the Copyright Office, you only need to inform the Copyright Office that you are doing so. The Copyright Office has maintained a record of all materials cleared since Fall 2012.