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Copyright guide for Camosun College

General Questions

1. Can I provide my class with copies of readings and handouts?

Yes. A single copy or a short excerpt  from a copyright-protected work may be provided or communicated to each student enrolled in a class or course at Camosun College. You cannot copy an entire work (book, journal, or magazine).

In order to use materials as handouts, it should be:

  • prepared under the guidance of Fair Dealing (a short excerpt up to 10%, or a chapter of book, a single article from a periodical, single poem, etc...)
  • single entry only. Handouts should not include multiple articles together. 
  • free of charge. 
  • copied from original or licensed legal sources. Please avoid suspected materials which have been posted or uploaded online without the consent of the copyright owner. 
  • properly cited.

In case of alternatives to copyright,

  • Public domain can be copied and handed out in class freely. 
  • Creative Common Licensed or Open Access materials can be copied and handed out in class subject to the indicated licenses.  

2. Can I use "Out Of Print" book without permission?

It depends. There are many reasons why books are out of print. Copyright owners may not want reprints. Publishers may not wish to reprint. The publisher may have gone bankrupt or gone out of business. Out-of-print books are not one of the exception to copyright. As long as the copyright of the work remains, it is protected by copyright. In order to use it as your course material, you must follow the Fair Dealing Guidelines or obtain permission from the publisher or author.

3. Can I use Camosun Students' works on my coursepack?

Yes. On Commercialization of Intellectual Property (Camosun College Policy E-3.5), the College states the Ownership of Intellectual Property Guidelines.

"Students own intellectual property in works developed as part of their normal course requirements, subject to any employment or other obligations between the student and the College, or any external parties that sponsor or support the student in the development of the intellectual property. The College shall have a right to use works developed by students in perpetuity for institutional, commercially non-competitive purposes and may retain prototypes or other original work developed by students using College resources." - Commercialization of Intellectual Property


  • students own copyrights of their works during the classes at Camosun.
  • However, the college have a right to use the works.

It won't be a problem to use the works from your students under the current college policy. In addition, you can also use students' works under Fair Dealing guidelines without permission (as news, journal articles or short stories). However, in this case, you must attribute the source.

Fair Dealing guideline does not allow copyrighted material to be modified or used without credit, because you must use it as it is. Therefore, it is best to obtain written permission to anonymously use or edit of student material in your course materials.

The university does not already have a specific "form" for permission as stated in the policy.

4. How long does copyright last?

In Canada, copyright protection generally applies to a work for the life of the creator, plus 70 years. It was life plus 50 years before Dec 30, 2022. Some countries have life plus 50 and others have life plus 100. After the copyright expires, a work enters the Public Domain, although copyright protection may still apply to more recent editions, arrangements or adaptations of the work. Also don't assume that everything you find on the Internet is in the public domain just because it is publicly available. 

Use of a work in Canada is governed by the Canadian rules for the duration of the copyright protection. That means that even if a book was in the public domain in another country, it might not be in Canada.

For more information about duration of copyright protection in Canada see the Government of Canada's Guide to Copyright 

Using Licensed Resources From the Library

1. Can I post the electronic version of an article retrieved from a Library research database or subscription journal in D2L?

Some Library licenses permit uploading of licensed online content to D2L. More commonly, licenses permit you to create and post in D2L "persistent links" to individual articles from licensed online resources. Rather than assume that the license for a particular resource permits this use check with the Library.

2. Can I post the electronic version of an article retrieved from a Library research database or subscription journal on a publicly accessible website?

No. Generally speaking, all licensed resources are for the exclusive use of Camosun College.

3. Can I include an article retrieved from a Library research database or subscription journal in a course pack?

Some license agreements between the Library and individual publishers or distributors for online resources such as e-journals include clauses that permit the use of content in coursepacks. Check with the library.

4. Can I handout print copies of an article retrieved from a Library research database or subscription journal?

Some license agreements between the Library and individual publishers or distributors for online resources such as e-journals include clauses that permit the use of content as class handouts. Check with the library.

5. What is a persistent link?

A persistent link provides permanent access to a specific article within a a subscription database or electronic journal (provided that the person clicking on the link is an authenticated user). Persistent links are also called permanent links or stable links.

6. Can I post a persistent link to an article in a Library research database or subscription journal in D2L?

Some license agreements between the Library and individual publishers or distributors for online resources such as e-journals include clauses that permit the creation and posting of persistent links in D2L.

If you are unsure of how to create persistent links to licensed content, please ask a Librarian.

7. Can I post a persistent link to an article in a Library research database or subscription journal on a publicly accessible website?

We recommend you to post a persistent link within Camosun College webpages as possible, such as D2L or LibGuides. In order to access articles on Library research database or subscription journal, viewers need either Camosun credential or Camosun IP address. Therefore, even if you share it on a publicly accessible webpage, the general public will not have access to the article.

8. Can I post a published article that I have authored on either D2L on a publicly accessible website?

Before posting or sharing any preprint or postprint version of your published article in any environment, you will have to check the agreement you signed with the publisher to ensure permitted uses.

Using Multimedia

1. Is it legal to download videos online?

It depends. Downloading films and videos, without the permission of the rightsholder, is illegal in Canada, unless the copying falls under Fair Dealing.

Sources like YouTube allow videos to be streamed in class for educational purposes, but not downloaded, uploaded into another website (or D2L) or altered in anyway.

2. Where can I find copyright-free videos?

An alternative to using copyright protected video content is to use videos with creative commons license or films in the public domain. To learn more, visit the Open Resources Guide.

3. May I change the format of a copyrighted film (e.g., digitize a VHS tape)?

No. Changing the format of a film, without the explicit permission of the rightsholder, is illegal in Canada. This applies even if you or the College owns a legal copy of the title.

4. May I show streaming video in the classroom?

It depends. You can show a streaming video in class that is freely available online (e.g., on YouTube or Vimeo) as long as:

  • it has been uploaded by the content creator (copyright owner);
  • the site's Terms of Service allow content to be viewed for educational purposes; and
  • the video is streamed directly from the site it has been uploaded to, and not downloaded. For example, instead of embedding the video within your PowerPoint presentation, which does not comply with copyright, just paste the link to the video into your presentation. Then, when you're ready to show the video, just click on the link (Will require a live Internet connection).

Also, aggregating websites should be avoided. 

  • Sites that claim to be linking to publicly available films or documentaries that they do not own, or which include a "disclaimer" that assumes films they link to are either in the public domain or to have been uploaded with the consent of their copyright owners.
  • Again, best practice is to use streaming films from the confirmed legal copyright or distribution holder.

It's recommended that you do not use videos from Netflix or iTunes in class.  The terms of use of these services indicate use is for "household" or "personal" use.

Camosun currently licenses nine streaming video collections, which can be shown in any classroom at the College without seeking copyright permission and without reporting this use. Ask library staff for more information.   The National Film Board of Canada is one example of a streaming video collection.

5. May I show DVDs or videos in the classroom?

Yes, videos and DVDs can be shown in the classroom as long as you are using a legal copy. The library has an extensive collection of DVDs and Videos which can be used in a classroom setting. You can also show a DVD from your personal collection, or ones borrowed from another library or rented from a commercial enterprise as long as you are confident the copy is a legal one.

6. May I play a live television or radio broadcast in class?

Section 29.5(b) and (c) permits instructors to play sound recordings, radios and televisions in the classroom of an educational premises, if its for educational purposes and the audience is primarily students and there is no "motive of gain'.

7. May I copy a news program and use it in class?

Section 29.6 of the Copyright Act permits an instructor to make a single copy of a news or news commentary program (EXCLUDES documentaries) and to show the program in a classroom to an audience primarily of students.

The copy may be made at the time the program is aired by the broadcaster or communicated over the internet.

A news program is defined as a program reporting on local, regional, national, and international events as they happen, and includes weather reports, sportscasts, community news, and other related features or segments contained within the news program. Examples are: The National  or BBC World Report.

A news commentary program is a program containing discussions, explanations, analysis, observations and interpretations of the news.  Will include a "talking head", minimal editing, interview or panel discussions with unscripted responses. Examples are As it HappensAnderson Cooper 360.

8. May I copy a documentary or other TV programs  for use in class?

Copying a documentary or other types programs (sitcoms, soap operas, cartoons, children's programming  & reality TV) for off-air viewing is more complicated and will likely require the payment of royalties. Check with the Media Librarian for more information.

Under Fair Dealing exemptions you can reproduce up to 10% of a documentary and show it in class for educational purposes.

Camosun College has also purchased entertainment licenses for the showing of videos that may not fall under the Fair Dealing Guidelines. For more information contact the Copyright Office.

9. May I play sound recording in class?

The Copyright Act allows you to play a sound recording or live radio broadcasts in class as long as it is for educational or training purposes, not for profit, on Camosun College premises and before an audience consisting primarily of students, faculty or any person who is directly responsible for setting a curriculum for Camosun College.

However, if you want to use music for non-educational purposes, for example, for background music at a conference or in an athletic facility, a license must be obtained from the copyright collective SOCAN. Please check Music for Events and Facilities


If you have any questions which have not listed on the list, please feel free to visit or contact Copyright & Institutional Repository Technician