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Information about respecting Canadian copyright law in your work at Centennial.

Copyright Considerations for Teaching Online

With the college's decision to move classes online and in a hybrid model, you may be in a situation to  switch from in-person to online teaching. 

This page has been created to provide copyright tips and resources to ease the transition.

There are a lot of pedagogical and technical issues that make the shift from in-person to online teaching challenging, but copyright is not a big additional area of worry!

Most of the copyright considerations are the same in both contexts. 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.

Course Readings and Other Materials

Course Readings & Sharing Material

Textbooks may still be available for students to purchase a hardcopy, or a digital version. Note that publishers do not typically make library eBooks available for traditional textbooks or workbooks.

Consider finding Library eResources and Open Educational Resources (OERs) that suit your weekly topics to remove textbook cost and access barriers for your students. These resources can be listed in an eReserves list for your course sections.


It's always easiest to link!


Linking to subscription content through Centennial College Libraries is a great option - a lot of our subscription content will have "permalink" options, all of which should work even for off-campus users.

For assistance linking to any particular libraries subscription content, please view the library's Stable Link Guide.

Linking to publicly available online content like news websites, existing online videos, etc is rarely a copyright issue.

Better not to link to existing content that looks obviously infringing itself - Rainbow87's YouTube video of the entire "Pride and Prejudice" movie is probably not a good thing to link to. Be sure to check that the account that uploaded the content is official and compliant. For example, TED should be the account that uploaded a TEDtalk.

Did you know? Embedding a YouTube video embed code in eCentennial is the same as linking! Learn more about linking or embedding YouTube videos.


Sharing copies


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.

It is not permitted to make copies of entire works - but most instructors don't do that! Copying portions of works to share with students will often be fair dealing.

For information see the Centennial College Fair Dealing Policy for Copyright-Protected Work.


eReserves and Copyright Compliance Support

Electronic Reserves Service

The library's eReserve service, an online course material list through eCentennial can help with getting things online. Linking to Libraries subscription resources, finding ebooks where available, and much more. Please note that service requests and timing will depend on service demands and the availability of our staff.

Learn more about eReserves here.

Copyright Compliance Support

Copyright compliance support is available through eReserve requests, or via email. If using email, please include a typed list of full citations with links, where applicable, for the content you wish to be reviewed.

The Copyright Librarian may also be able to help you seek formal copyright permissions to provide copies to students - but there may be some issues with getting permissions on short timelines. 

Unsure if you can copy something? Contact us as we may be able to suggest alternative content that is already online through library subscriptions, publicly available or open content.

Media and Video Lectures

Recording video of yourself, live-casting lectures, etc:


Slide Images


If it was legal to show slide images in class, it is likely legal to show them to students via live video conferencing or in recorded videos.  This may be a surprise if you have heard that there is a big difference between class lecture slides and online conference slides - but the issue is usually less offline versus online, than a restricted versus an unrestricted audience.

As long as your new course video is being shared through secure course websites limited to the same enrolled students (eCentennial), the legal issues are fairly similar.

Many instructors routinely post a copy of their slides as a file for students to access after in-person course meetings. In any case, this should only be done when all material within the slides is copyright-compliant.


Where to post your videos


There may be some practical differences in outcomes depending on where you post new course videos - on the college's MediaSite platform or Microsoft Stream (O365). It is easy to control access at the level of individual videos, and to connect to your course in eCentennial. 

You may post your videos on YouTube, but be aware that content may be okay to share with your classroom but not for the public. Put your videos in private mode if not to be shared widely.


Multimedia viewing/listening


Showing an entire movie or film or musical work online may be a bit more of an issue than playing it in class without a physical DVD for example - but there may be options for your students to access it independently online.

Centennial Libraries have licensed streaming video content, which you are welcome to use in your online course. 


Note: The information obtained from or through this website is provided as guidelines for using works for educational purposes and is not intended to constitute legal advice.  The Copyright Services Librarian is not a lawyer or legal expert in copyright law and is able to provide a professional and not a legal opinion. A professional opinion is offered for information purposes only and should not be relied upon as legal advice.  

Contact Us

Shelby Stinnissen's picture
Shelby Stinnissen
(416) 289-5000 x5418

Public Statement of Copyright Specialists

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