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Copyright at MHC

Online Course and Exam Delivery: Copyright Considerations


Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Serving Student Access Needs with the Rapid Shift to Online Course and Exam Delivery:

Copyright Considerations

This resource provides some quick tips for transitioning your course on the fly.  As always, if you have more questions, or need assistance, please email the Copyright Specialist.

*Note: The information obtained from or through this site does not constitute legal advice, but is provided as guidelines for using works for educational purposes.

Pedagogical and technical issues may make the shift from in-person to online teaching a challenge, but copyright concerns should not be a significant barrier!

Key points to remember:

  • Most of the legal issues are the same in both online (ie., in a password-protected learning management system (LMS) and in-person teaching
  • If it was ok to do it in class, it is often ok to do it online
  • You can continue to apply Fair Dealing online


  • Use password protected systems like Blackboard to make material available to students enrolled in your class
  • Post in-class slides to Blackboard - slides provided by textbook publishers can almost always be used, according to their Terms of Use
  • The rules for print and electronic course reading materials in Blackboard are similar - legally uploaded means content that was clearly uploaded by the copyright owner or with their permission and that is not behind any form of login or password protection
  • Contact MHC's Copyright Specialist to check license terms, and assess legality of content on the internet, or if you need to use more than Fair Dealing permits
  • Your Subject/Liaison Librarian may be able to help you find alternative content as the MHC Library has a large collection of online journals and e-books that can help support online learning
  • The Copyright Specialist can also help you find openly licensed teaching materials like Open Educational Resources (OER)
  • Using phone apps like Genius Scan or Adobe Scan to easily scan to post print materials in Blackboard within the limits allowed by the Copyright Act (including Fair Dealing - see Copyright for the Digital Classroom below)
  • Make scanned PDF files more accessible for students by using an optical character recognition (OCR) online too to convert "non-selectable" text files into more accessible versions
  • Sharing audiovisual material like films and audio files is more complex - but remember, you can still link to legally-posted online content (ie., from Youtube, etc.)
  • The MHC Library has 12 databases that give access to streaming video that you may link to
  • Standard commercial streaming options like Netflix, Crave, or Disney Plus that students may subscribe to can be an option - though some students may not have access to those services
  • Using copyrighted material in exams can be easy, as you can apply Fair Dealing
  • If you need to use materials beyond Fair Dealing exceptions s. 30.01, contact the Copyright Specialist


 This transitioning to online course delivery resource adapted for MHC from a previous adaptation by Mount Royal University and 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 on the Copyright Information section of this site is licensed under a Creative Commons Attrtibution-NonCommerical License.  We would like to acknowledge some contribution of adaptation language from University of Toronto Scholarly Communications & Copyright Office and Ryerson University Library.