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Information for faculty & students about using copyrighted materials at Red Deer Polytechnic.

Quick Copyright Tips for Online Delivery

Key points to remember:

  1. Most copyright issues are the same whether the teaching is done in person or online.
  2. If it was okay to do in class, it is often okay to do online – especially when your online access is limited to the same enrolled students.
  3. You can continue to apply Fair Dealing Guidelines.
  4. Cite and/or attribute all sources used in your lecture/course (including images). Hint: you can use the RDP Library’s sample attributions

Additional recommendations:

  • Use RDP’s password-protected Learning Management System (Blackboard) to make material available to your students, and use tools your institution provides or recommends to deliver lectures with copyrighted content.
  • Post your in-class slides to Blackboard. Slides provided by textbook publishers can almost always be used, according to their Terms of Use.
  • Course readings guidelines for print and online posting to Blackboard are similar. Either use the Fair Dealing Guidelines, link to a resource within RDP Library’s collections, or link out to Internet content.
  • Your Subject Librarian may be able to help you find alternative content, and the Libraries’ electronic databases have a large collection of online journals and ebooks. In fact, many content providers have recently increased access to a variety of materials to ensure broader access by campuses. Your librarian can also help you find openly-licensed teaching materials like Open Educational Resources (OER).
  • You may scan print materials to post on Blackboard, as long as the use fits within the Fair Dealing Guidelines. Consider making your scanned PDF files more accessible by converting "non-selectable" text files using an optical character recognition (OCR) online tool.
  • Sharing audiovisual material like films and audio files can be more complex. However, remember you can still link to legally posted content (e.g., YouTube). Red Deer Polytechnic Library has audiovisual collections that you may link to including Films on Demand,, and National Film Board. You can find these resources on the Subject Guides. The terms of use for services such as iTunes and Netflix generally specify personal use only; therefore, you cannot show films from these kinds of services.
  • Section 30.01 of the Copyright Act also outlines specific exceptions for online education. In particular, it is not an infringement of copyright for students "to reproduce the lesson in order to be able to listen to or view it at a more convenient time," provided the students destroy or delete their copy within 30 days of receiving a final grade (Section 30.01(5)).

This resource has been adapted for Canadian universities by the Canadian Association of Research Libraries from material prepared by the Copyright Office, University of Minnesota document Copyright Services, Rapidly shifting your course from in-person to online. Unless otherwise noted, all content is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License. We would like to acknowledge some contribution of adaptation language from University of Toronto Scholarly Communications & Copyright Office, Ryerson University Library, and University of Victoria Libraries.

Quick Copyright Tips - PDF Version