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Copyright at Seneca

Copyright Best Practices When Teaching Online


When in Doubt, Link Out

Linking is not copying. If you're not sure whether you can copy the material, share the link instead. Before linking, try to make sure that the material is legally posted by the copyright owner or with their permission.


Continue to Follow and Apply Fair Dealing

If you must copy from or reuse copyrighted materials, follow fair dealing guidelines. This includes:

  • Only copying a short excerpt (e.g., less than 10% of the work, one image from an article)
  • Making sure that you provide attribution to the material. It's not required to use citation styles, such as APA or MLA. You can use a simple attribution which includes details about the source (e.g., name and link to the material) and the creator (e.g., name or username)
  • Posting the material to Blackboard, if possible, so that it’s only accessible to your students

For additional guidance, check out the Fair Dealing page or contact copyright@senecacollege.ca


Educate Students About Commercial Note Sharing Websites

There have been reports of Seneca teaching materials being found on commercial note sharing websites such as Course Hero and OneClass. It is a violation of copyright for anyone to post material that is not theirs to these sites without the permission of the copyright owner. This includes faculty-created class notes and presentations, course readings, and supplementary materials from publishers. To help protect materials, make students aware that it's a violation of copyright to post course materials to note sharing sites. Consider adding a copyright statement on the course outline and/or relevant course materials. Check out Commercial Note Sharing for a sample statement. 


Consider Openly Licensed Resources

There are many openly licensed online resources, including images and videos, which can be used without seeking permission from the copyright owner. This includes content which are in the public domain and materials licensed under Creative Commons. Check out these resources for content with open licenses:


Connect with Your Liaison Librarian for Help With Online Course Materials

As an expert in your field, you are best at determining which information and resources will be relevant for your course. If you're not sure how to start searching for resources for your online course, your liaison librarian(s) can point you in the right direction! Liaison librarians can help by showing you resources in your subject area, providing a sample list of articles and other resources, and sharing tips on navigating these resources. Connect with your liaison librarian for more information.

Copyrighted Materials in Live & Recorded Lectures


Lecture Slides

When sharing lecture slides which include third-party content, such as images from websites, make sure to follow fair dealing guidelines and any terms of use for the material.


Streaming Videos & Audio in Lectures

It's possible to share short clips of videos or audio in a recorded or live lecture as long as it's within fair dealing guidelines and any terms of use for the material. If students are required to access longer clips which exceed fair dealing limits, consider providing students the link to the material so that they can access it before the lecture. Check out the Videos & Audio tab for more information.


Book Readings

Recording a reading of a book counts as making a copy of the work. Based on fair dealing, faculty may record themselves reading a portion of a book as long as:

  • the portion is within the limits of fair dealing (e.g., one chapter or up to 10% of the material)
  • the recording is shared on a password-protected site such as Blackboard
  • faculty does not create a recording of multiple portions of the same book

Creating an Online Course Resource List

Connect with your liaison librarian about creating an online resource list for your course. The library has a new course resources tool (Leganto) which allows faculty to create, manage, and share a list of course resources directly on Blackboard. This new tool enables faculty to share various types of course materials including faculty-authored documents, resources from the library collection, YouTube videos, and website links. This tool enables faculty to easily add persistent links to library resources, collect and assess student engagement with course resources, and share course resources which comply with copyright.

Copyright Tips for Textbooks


Print Textbooks & Fair Dealing

Under fair dealing, faculty can copy/scan and share a short excerpt of a print textbook with students. A short excerpt is generally one chapter or up to 10% of the textbook. Faculty must also include a citation for the textbook in order to apply fair dealing. When sharing the short excerpt, we recommend posting the file on Blackboard so that access is limited to students registered in the course. Under fair dealing, faculty cannot copy/scan different short excerpts of the same work to share with students (e.g., scanning and posting a different chapter each week). 
 

OER Textbooks

Consider Open Educational Resources (OERs) as alternatives to traditional textbooks. OER textbooks have open licenses which allow faculty to share and adapt content for their courses. For more information, check out Seneca College Faculty Guide to OERs.


Book Readings

Recording a reading of a book counts as making a copy of the work. Based on fair dealing, faculty may record themselves reading a portion of a book as long as:

  • the portion is within the limits of fair dealing (e.g., one chapter or up to 10% of the material)
  • the recording is shared on a password-protected site such as Blackboard
  • faculty does not create a recording of multiple portions of the same book

Copyright Tips for Library Database Content

Seneca Libraries purchase licensing agreements from various database vendors allowing the Seneca community to access to eResources such as eBooks, newspapers, magazines, academic journals, and streaming videos. Each vendor sets their own usage restrictions on the materials in their collection. It is important to note that licensing agreements override rights in the Copyright Act and the terms of the license must be followed.

Tips for using database content:

  • It's recommended to link to database content using its persistent link. Check out more information on creating persistent links
  • Connect with your liaison librarian about creating a resource list. The library has a new course resources tool (Leganto) which allows faculty to create, manage, and share a list of course resources directly on Blackboard. This new tool enables faculty to share various types of course materials including faculty-authored documents, resources from the library collection, YouTube videos, and website links. This tool enables faculty to easily add persistent links to library resources, collect and assess student engagement with course resources, and share course resources which comply with copyright.     
  • If you must download and/or copy content, check out what's permitted in the database terms of use

Checking database terms of use

Copyright Tips for Websites


Most of the content found on websites, such as reports, images, and articles, are protected by copyright. The publicly available materials (PAMs) exemption in the Canadian copyright law allows faculty to copy online content for the purpose of education. In order to use this exemption, ensure that:

  • A citation to the work is included
  • There is no technological protection measure/digital lock preventing access to the material, such as log-ins
  • There is no clearly visible notice prohibiting educational use. One way to determine this is to check out the terms of use of the website for copyright and usage guidelines
  • The material is not an infringing copy

When sharing website content, it's best to link to the materials instead of downloading and posting it to Blackboard. 

Copyright Tips for Using Videos & Audio


Netflix, iTunes & other subscription services

Note that content from video and audio streaming sites, such as Netflix, Crave, and iTunes, are available for personal viewing only. Streaming content from Netflix and similar sites in lectures and sharing log-in information with students are violations of their terms of use. Students, however, may access videos and audio from their personal subscription to these services.  
 

YouTube Videos

Faculty may link to or embed content from YouTube and similar media sharing sites as long as the following conditions are met:

  • the content is a legitimate copy of the work (i.e., it was uploaded by the copyright owner or with their permission)
  • there are no clearly visible notices prohibiting educational use
  • there are no access lock preventing the public from accessing the video, such as log-ins


Library Streaming Videos

The library subscribes to several streaming video databases which provide the Seneca community access to feature films, educational videos, and documentaries. We recommend linking to videos from library databases when sharing it with students.

The library may also be able to purchase streaming videos which support courses. Complete the Recommendation for Library Purchase to recommend new items for the library collection. 

Copyright Tips for Using Images


From Print Sources

When creating course materials, follow fair dealing guidelines for images coming from print sources, such as a book or article. In general, you may use one image from a copyrighted work, or multiple images if it doesn't exceed 10% of the work. Remember to include a citation when applying fair dealing.
 

Images from Websites

Take note that most images posted on websites are protected by copyright. However, there are many openly licensed images online which can be used without further permission from the copyright owner. ​​​​Check out these resources for image collections with open licenses:

 

 Images from Library Databases

Seneca Libraries provides access to several image databases. Each vendor sets their own usage restrictions on the materials in their collection. It is important to note that licensing agreements override rights in the Copyright Act and the terms of the license must be followed. Check out the database's terms of use to determine if you can use database images in your course materials.

Checking database terms of use

Open Educational Resources (OERs)

"…are any type of educational materials that are in the public domain or introduced with an open license. The nature of these open materials means that anyone can legally and freely copy, use, adapt and re-share them. OERs range from textbooks to curricula, syllabi, lecture notes, assignments, tests, projects, audio, video and animation." (Source)

For more information, see Seneca College Faculty Guide to OERs.

Examples of subjects with open textbooks include: PsychologyBusinessESLMicrobiology.

Examples of open learning resources, such as activities and handouts, include: Writing Your EssayThe Accounting Cycle – ProblemsMathematics (homework exercises).

Some content on this page was adapted from Copyright Guidance for Online Courses (University of Calgary)