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Copyright Guide for Faculty and Staff

Virtual Library

Quick Copyright Tips for Digital Delivery

Quick Copyright Tips for Digital Delivery

(A shorter template for libraries to adapt for use by instructors, adapted from a guide by Ryerson University)

Key points to remember:

  1. Most of the legal issues are the same whether the teaching is done in person or online (via an LMS).
  2. 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.
  3. You can continue to apply the Fair Dealing guidelines - see our Copyright Guide:


  • Use your university password-protected Brightspace to make material available to your students, and use Brightspace Virtual Classroom to deliver lectures with copyrighted content
  • Post your in-class slides to Brightspace. Slides provided by textbook publishers can almost always be used, according to their Terms of Use.
  • Course readings rules for print and online posting to Brightspace are similar. Either use the guideline of your Fair Dealing guidelines as linked above, link to a resource within your, or link out to Internet content.
  • Your Subject/Liaison Librarian may be able to help you find alternative content, and the has a large collection of online journals and ebooks that can help support online learning. In fact, many content providers have recently increased access to a variety of materials to ensure broader access by campuses. Your librarian can also help you find openly licensed teaching materials like Open Educational Resources (OER)
  • Use phone apps like Genius Scan or Adobe Scan to easily scan to post print materials Brightspace within the limits allowed by the Copyright Act (including fair dealing – see Make scanned PDF files more accessible for your students by using an optical character recognition (OCR) online tool 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 (from YouTube etc.). SMU has subscriptions to Curio and the National Film Board films that you may link to. Standard commercial streaming options like Netflix, Crave or Disney Plus that students may also subscribe to can be an option – though some students may not have access to those services. Netflix also provides access and licensing to certain documentaries for classroom use - message to inquire.
  • Using copyrighted material in exams can be easy, as you can use the If you need to use material beyond this, copyright exception s. 30.01 can also apply, contact if you need help to implement this copyright exception as there are rules that need to be followed to use it. 
  • The SMU Copyright Office can help you copyright check readings, create links to ebooks and journal articles and more. Contact 

General Copyright Statement

Saint Mary’s University understands both the desire to protect scholarly research and writing, and the need to advance knowledge. The university believes in fairly compensating content creators for their contributions to academic advancement while maximizing the permissions granted to us through our paid licensing agreements and the educational exceptions in the Copyright Act.

The Copyright Act has been amended and modernized in recent years. These amendments provide educational institutions with rights to access, make and distribute content to their students. Reproducing a work can include photocopying, scanning, downloading, or uploading the material. Library licensing agreements for electronic content also outline how certain materials can be shared.

Faculty and Staff must comply with the Copyright Act and these licensing agreements. This guide was created to help ensure full copyright compliance by offering information on copyright and best practices for faculty and staff. It does not provide legal advice.

Please note: a separate guide has been set up to support students in remaining copyright compliant.

Copyright Contact at Saint Mary's

We invite you to contact us to discuss your questions, concerns, feedback, or suggestions relating to copyright or this guide. We can be reached at:

General contact:

Suzanne van den Hoogen
University Librarian / Copyright Officer
Tel 902-420-5532

Amy Lorencz
Metadata and Copyright Librarian
Tel 902-420-5174

Patricia Langille
Copyright Assistant
Tel 902-491-6321

Information Sessions:

We would be happy to provide an information session for your department or class! Past talks have focused on Copyright Basics, Finding and Using Images, and Fair Dealing, but sessions can be tailored for your specific needs. Please contact us at to schedule a session.

Book an appointment with Amy and/or Patricia through MS Bookings - click here


Please note: This guide does not provide legal advice. It is intended to give guidance about acceptable use of copyright protected materials.