Copyright in the Classroom


This page is intended as a quick reference for University of Alberta instructors. The following resources and information will help you identify and navigate copyright issues related to the classroom and teaching. 


Linking to Resources

If you intend to share course materials online, consider linking directly to the source rather than copying it.

  • Provide students with stable links to articles and ebooks instead of distributing PDFs or printed copies. U of A Library provides persistent (stable) links to licensed resources for inclusion in syllabi / eClass / LMS as part of course reading lists. To learn how to create persistent links yourself, consult Accessing Library Online Resources
  • While some library licences support the sharing of content through a learning management system (LMS) such as eClass, some do not. Due to the variability in licence terms, it is best practice to provide other CCID holders with a persistent hyperlink to the original source instead of copying and sharing the work.


Using Licensed & Royalty-Free Content

The materials you have selected for your course may be available for use without requiring specific permission. It is important to note that some terms and conditions or restrictions may apply to their use.

Licensed Library Resources

The U of A Library negotiates and purchases access to resources (including electronic journals, ebooks and databases) for use in your classroom. After searching for content, consult the "Conditions of Use" to confirm what uses are covered by the University's licence for that specific content.

Opening Up Copyright Instructional Module:

Licensed Library Resources

Open Access Resources

Content openly accessible on the web is not necessarily in the public domain or available for re-distribution. Learn about terms of use, educational exceptions, and permissions before sharing.

Open Licences

Open licences, such as Creative Commons, make it easy to understand what types of re-distribution and re-use are acceptable to rightsholders.

Opening Up Copyright Instructional Modules:

Open Licensing and Creative Commons

Finding Open and Creative Commons Content

Public Domain

Copyright terms don’t last forever. In Canada, works generally enter the public domain 70 years after the year of death of the author / composer / artist (increased from life plus 50 years effective 30 December 2022, without retroactive effect).

Work through the Canadian Public Domain Flowchart to help determine whether a work is in the public domain.

Opening Up Copyright Instructional Module:

Public Domain


Applying Fair Dealing and Exceptions

As an instructor, you can rely on fair dealing and educational exceptions in the Copyright Act. If your use of copyright protected materials falls within the specified guidelines, no permission is required.

Fair Dealing

Follow the Fair Dealing Guidelines when providing students with copies of resources via print handouts or digitized eClass / LMS postings. 

Opening Up Copyright Instructional Modules: 

Applying Fair Dealing

Section 29: Fair Dealing

Educational Exceptions

Rely on Copyright Act exceptions to display content in the classroom:

Opening Up Copyright Instructional Modules:

Educational Institutions’ Policies and Practices

Sections 29.4 – 30.03: Educational Institution Exceptions 


Requesting Copyright Reviews

When you are preparing course materials for distribution to students, you may need to submit your materials list to the Copyright Office for copyright review and clearance. The Copyright Office will review your list and, if needed, obtain transactional licences for specific readings.

Submit a Copyright Review Request Form if you are preparing a course package, are unsure of the terms of use for the material you want to copy, or would like the Copyright Office to seek permission for you to use the material in your classroom.

Consult the following pages for information on preparing course materials for distribution, and on the review and permissions process:

*Keep track of use permissions and check for changes each time you teach the course. 

Publishing Agreements

As a content creator, you may choose to publish your work. Review your publishing agreement(s) carefully and ensure that your own work(s) can be re-used for educational purposes in the future.

Opening Up Copyright Instructional Modules:

Publishing Agreements

Section 13: Ownership of Copyright

Policies and Procedures

Be sure to review the relevant documents in the University of Alberta's UAPPOL. These include the Use of Copyright Materials Policy and Procedure, as well as the Fair Dealing Guidelines and other copyright-related information documents.


If you have any questions, please contact the U of A Copyright Office at


For Instructors