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Michael Byun, Manager, Bookstores

Tim Paul, Manager, Academic Technology Services.
Responsible for Audio/Visual Recording and online content used for instructional purposes.

Katharine Shipley, Associate Director of Learning Resources.
Responsible for copyright in relation to use of Library print and digital collections.

Debra Flewelling, Open Education Librarian.

Online Instruction

Key Points to Remember:

Most of the legal issues are the same whether you are teaching face-to-face or online (via Blackboard or another LMS).

If it was okay to do in class, it is often okay to do online – especially when access is limited to the same enrolled students (for example via an LMS). 

You can continue to apply the College Use of Copyright Works Policy (A01) in an online setting. The policy applies to all members of the Douglas College Community, including students.

Recording Video of Yourself, Live-casting Lectures, etc. 

Slide Images 

Just as it is legal to show slides with images in class, it is generally legal to show them to students using live video conferencing or recorded videos, as long as your new course video is being shared through a password protected course website like Blackboard. 

Many instructors routinely post a copy of their slides as a file for students to access after in-person course meetings. In most cases, faculty will own the copyright in or have license to use their slides. However, if you are incorporating third-party materials into your lessons, they should be in keeping with the College Use of Copyright Works Policy (A01) or other license agreements associated with this content.


In-lecture use of audio or video 

Here, the difference between online and in-person teaching is more complex.   Playing audio or video of legally-obtained physical media (music or audio visual materials like DVDs or CDs for example) during an in-person class on our physical campus is permitted under Section 29.5 of the Copyright Act. However, that exemption doesn't cover playing the same media online.   Your best bet may be to seek alternative content from one of Douglas College Library's  licensed streaming video collections -  which you are welcome to use in your online course.

Another possible option would be to have students independently access the content outside of your lecture videos, e.g., provide students with a link to the material where it resides online, if you can find a legally uploaded online version that permits such a use.


Where to post videos you create

You can post videos within Kaltura, as long as they are copyright compliant. If you already use services like YouTube to teach, remember to continue to be copyright compliant. Please note that it is more likely that videos posted on YouTube may encounter some automated copyright enforcement, such as a takedown notice, or disabling of included audio or video content. These automated enforcement tools are often incorrect when they flag audio, video, or images included in instructional videos. If you encounter something like this that you believe to be in error, you can contact for assistance. 

Course Readings & Other Resources 

Hopefully, by mid-semester, your students have already gotten access to most assigned reading materials. As always, you can link to Libraries’ licensed resources, find ebooks where available, and much more. 

The DC Library  has an online eReserves service that can save you a lot of time. Library staff will create links to Library resources on your course reading list, which your students would be able to access in BlackBoard.  For more details click the Syllabus Service tab on the Library's faculty portal. See: to upload your syllabus.

If you want to share additional materials with students yourself as you revise instructional plans, or if you want students to share more resources with each other in an online discussion board, keep in mind some simple guidelines below.


Linking to publicly available online content like news websites, existing online videos, etc. is rarely a copyright issue.  However, avoid linking to content that has not been made available by the rights' holder.  e.g., Joe Schmoe's YouTube video of the entire "Avengers: Endgame" movie. But linking to most YouTube videos that were uploaded by the creator/or rights' holder and  that allow sharing and embedding, should be fine. **Note, YouTube's Terms of Use do not permit users to download or format-shift its content.  Users may only share content via its permalinks and/or embed code.** 

Linking to subscription content through the Douglas College Library is also a great option. Much of the library’s licensed content will have DOIs, PURLs, or other "permalink" or “persistent link” options, all of which should work even for off-campus users. Consult the Permanent/Persistent Links guide, or contact the library directly for assistance via or through


Sharing copies and scanning

Making copies of new materials for students (by downloading and uploading files, or by scanning from physical documents) can present some copyright issues, but they're not different from those involved in deciding whether to share something online with your students when you are meeting in-person. 

At Douglas College, faculty and instructors are encouraged to read and apply the College Use of Copyrighted Works Policy (A01) when they are making decisions about when they think they can make copies for students to post to Blackboard. Library staff members are available to help faculty understand the relevant issues (contact for more help. 

Some app tools that you can use to easily digitize fair dealing amounts of material from your phone to post to Blackboard are Genius ScanAdobe Scan. Please keep in mind that you can make any scanned PDF files more accessible for your students by using an online optical character recognition (OCR) online tool that can be used to convert "non-selectable" text files into machine-readable or recognized text.

When an instructor needs to make more copyrighted material available to students than the College Use of Copyrighted Works Policy (A01) allows, the Bookstore can assist faculty in making these determinations and can also help you seek formal copyright permissions to provide copies to students – but there may be some issues with getting permissions on short timelines. 

An alternative way to find course materials is to look online for free to use teaching resources like Open Educational Resources. Just remember to attribute!

You can also search the Douglas College Library which has a large collection of journals and many ebooks that can support on-line learning. In fact, many content providers have recently increased access to a variety of materials to ensure broader access by campuses. Your Faculty Liaison Librarian can also help!

Multimedia Viewing & Listening 

Showing an entire movie or film or musical work online is not specifically permitted under the Copyright Act.  Your best bet is to see if the title is available through one of Douglas College Library's licensed streaming video collections. These are already licensed for you to use in your online course. 

You can still link to legally uploaded content if its freely available online and was uploaded by the rights' holder e.g., Vevo, YouTube, Vimeo etc. 

  • Do not link to materials that were clearly uploaded by someone other than the rights' holder - e.g., a BBC documentary uploaded by JDoe2240
  • Do check the terms of use for the relevant website before sharing with your students.  e.g., YouTube's Terms in the Your Use of the Service section do not permit downloading, reproducing or modifying its content. You are permitted to share its content with your students via the  URLs or embed code provided by YouTube.

Student Work

The Canadian Copyright Act  applies to everyone in Canada, including students. The Douglas College Use of Copyright Protected Works Policy also applies to our students.  It's important that the content students use in their coursework & assignments does not infringe copyright, or violate the permitted uses of the College's licensed resources and/or any website terms.

Suggestions for how to assist students in using others' intellectual property legally & ethically:

  • Ask students to read  the Douglas College Use of Copyright Protected Works Policy
  • Ask students to include a full and complete citation for all intellectual property that they did not create, including images, graphs, charts, and statistical tables
  • For web sources: ask that students include a permissions statement which makes clear by what right the student has used the work, e.g., by right of Fair Dealing, by right of a Creative Commons license; by written permission from the rights' holder etc.
  • Let students know that work which contains infringing content cannot be uploaded into the College's learning management system, institutional repository and/or Library eReserves system.




This page was adapted for Douglas College from templates created by the Canadian Association of Research Libraries under a Creative Commons CC BY-NC license, and based on a University of Minnesota Copyright Office document, with input from the University of Toronto Scholarly Communications & Copyright Office and Ryerson University Library.


The information in this resource should not be considered legal advice. The purpose of this guide is to provide Douglas College faculty and students with general information about copyright.