Copyright FAQs


Can I show a video or movie to my class without permission?

If you are teaching in a face-to-face setting, you may show a video or movie if usage meets the following guidelines:

  1. The material is being shown for educational purposes;
  2. The material shown is relevant to the curriculum;
  3. The item is a lawfully obtained copy

If you are teaching an online course, a video may be linked to iLearn course and access to it is limited to only the students enrolled in the class.

Can I use online media & YouTube in the classroom?

Before showing a Web-based video or clip in a public place such as a classroom, it is the faculty’s responsibility to verify the website’s policy or the copyright statement that appears with the video. Many videos available from websites such as YouTube and the CBC have usage restrictions. In addition, many of the videos you find on sites like YouTube have not necessarily been placed there with the permission of the actual copyright owner and as such, cannot be used without obtaining special permission.

NOTE, obtaining copyright permission to use online videos for a course can be a lengthy and sometimes complicated process. Please contact the  Copyright Service  to  help you obtain copyright clearance.

Can I take articles from books, magazines, articles from online, and newspapers, and use them in the class?

Yes! We are following US guidelines. It falls under “fair use”. Fair use lets you make multiple copies IF you are going to use them in the classroom. Only copying to distribute is not OK.
Fair Use includes
– Instructional use in classroom
– Instructional use Online

Can I download audio from the internet to use it in class (i.e. podcasts)?

Yes, if it is used in class for educational purposes. You can also post a link on iLearn. However, this is only OK if the site allows for free downloads.

Can I use a free book on the internet in my power point presentation that I will be using in classroom and will post it on iLearn for students to print out?

Permission is required since copies will be made for students. Free books are available to read, to prepare for teaching but not to make copies for students. You can link to it.


I have a power point presentation that was provided to me by the publisher of the textbook I use for my course. Can I post that to my iLearn course?

You may project slides in the classroom for teaching purposes, but you may not post them online to your iLearn course or your course web page without obtaining permission from the publisher.

Can I include digital images, graphics, text, video or audio files from the internet in my course web page and in iLearn, as class handouts, in print or online?

Not without the written permission of the copyright owner. Some web sites include a copyright notice that clearly outlines acceptable use of content from the site and any conditions on such use(s), such as a requirement to acknowledge the source or pay a fee. If educational uses are not covered by the copyright notice on the site, then you must obtain the permission of the copyright owner.

Can I scan a journal article or a book chapter and post it to my iLearn course?

  • Check the Library catalog to see if an e-book is available. If so, you may link it to your iLearn course. From the Library Catalog, copy the URL which appears as the “address” at the top of your browser screen. Paste the URL into iLearn.
  • Making scanned copies of printed material for the use of students is not allowed without permission from the copyright holders.

Can I post online-readings/copies from texts on iLearn? Students will access, print, and bring copies with them?

It depends. You are essentially making another copy. Instead, post a link for your students to access, or make copies and bring them to class.

Can I use a free book on the internet in my power point presentation that I will be using in classroom and will post it on iLearn for students to print out?

Permission is required since copies will be made for students. Free books are available to read, to prepare for teaching but not to make copies for students. You can link to it.

How to Access Streaming Video Reserves on iLearn

  1. Go to iLearn and log in.
  2. At the top right of your screen, click on the tab labelled Videos.
  3. Use the Browse drop-down to navigate your courses and see what videos have been made available to you.
  4. Clicking on a video will open the Panopto viewer in a new tab. In the Panopto viewer you can watch the video, bookmark important spots, make notes, or contribute to discussion all from within your browser window.


I own this book/journal, so why can’t I photocopy as much as I want?

Purchasing and owning a copy does not give you the right to make further copies from it. If it is still protected by copyright, someone else owns the “copyright” which is the right to make, or to allow others to make, copies. You can only make copies which are allowed by the law as “fair dealing for research or private study.”

How much can I copy from a text students have not purchased?

There is not really a number. Check out your “Fair Use Checklist”. You should have more checks on the left side than the right side. Fill out the form – it shows that you made the decision in good faith.

Can we copy things freely that are out of print (i.e. old TOEFL books)?

Just because something is out of print, it does not mean it is no longer copyrighted. Permission is needed for materials beyond the scope of the Fair Use provision.

What can be copied and still stay within the “FAIR USE” guidelines?

  • Single copying of any of the following for scholarly research or for use in teaching or preparation to teach a class:
    • a chapter from a book (never the entire book)
    • an article from a periodical or newspaper
    • a short story, short essay, or short poem
    • a chart, graph, diagram, drawing, cartoon, or picture from a book, periodical, or newspaper
  • Multiple copies for classroom use (not to exceed in any event more than one per student in a course) for discussion in class. Copying by faculty must meet the tests of brevity, spontaneity and cumulative:
    • Brevity (shortness) refers to how much of the work you can copy.
    • Spontaneity refers to how many times you can copy. (I call this the “One Semester Rule”); that no more than one article or two excerpts can be copies from the same author; that no more than three articles can be copied from the same collective work or periodical during one class term.



What may I do with a web page without seeking permission?

You may print out a copy of a web page for your own personal use. If a statement on the site allows further use, you may do as it allows. Check the site home page, and follow links such as “Copyright”, “About this site”, “Legal”, “Privacy Terms” or “Help”.

Whose responsibility is it to obtain copyright clearance for material put into online content or in classroom?

Faculty is responsible for clearing the copyrights for materials posted on the instructor’s own page, the instructor’s course web page, or an iLearn course page. The library can help you obtain permission from the copyright holder for uses not covered by Fair Use.

I want to use a political cartoon in a coursepack, do I need to get permission for? Does copyright deal with the same if I am using it in class?

For coursepack, yes permission is needed. For discussing it in classroom, permission is not needed.

How can I use AUS e-books as supplementary readings? Do I need to get permissions? For print copies of e-books, do I need permission?

Linking to your iLearn course is the solution and there is no need to permission. But for a print copy permission is required.

What does it cost to obtain copyright permission?

The cost varies. Copyright holders charge different amounts and calculate fees in different ways.

General information

What is the public domain?

The public domain includes all works that are not protected by copyright. Generally, works enter the public domain when copyright expires. The term of copyright in Canada is usually life of the author plus 50 years for textual works. Works can also enter the public domain when the creator surrenders all rights in the work to the public domain. When something is in the public domain it can be photocopied or used in any way without asking for permission. Works of the United States Government and various other governments are excluded from copyright law and may therefore be considered to be in the public domain in their respective countries.

For more information about Copyright Term and the Public Domain in the United States, see

Can I use student work such as photographs, drawings, designs etc.?

Copyright in works prepared by students for College fulfillment course requirements is owned by the student. A written authorization of the student must be obtained to use for other educational purposes in the university.

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