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Copyright Guide for Faculty: FAQs

Can I use the following?

Q: Can I use images from Google Earth?
Yes, you can as long as you provide proper attribution and do not redistribute or sell (non-commercial use) any part of the product or content.  For additional information please refer to the Using Google Maps, Google Earth and Street ViewGoogle Earth Agreement, and Google Earth's Privacy Policy.

Q: Can I use images found on the Internet in PowerPoint?
Instructors can display images from the internet in PowerPoint presentations as long as they are not breaking a technological protection measure (TPM)* and there is not "clearly visible notice" prohibiting copying. Instructors may also handout copies of the presentation to students and use these images in online courses. 
*Examples of technological protection measures (TPM) include passwords, copy blocking and regional encoding.

Q: Do I need permission to link to a website?
Content on the web is protected by copyright (copyright symbol is not necessary). If the material you wish to link to is not infringing copyright, you may link directly to the page. If you wish to reproduce any material found on the site, read the ‘Terms of Use’ or ‘Terms and Conditions’  before proceeding.  If permission is needed, contact our Library who will seek permission on your behalf.

Q: Can I embed YouTube videos on a course management system (e.g. BlackBoard)?
The terms of use for the "Standard YouTube License" reads as follows, below.  As we are an educational institute, that is considered non-commercial, we can link to the video (as long as it is legal) or embed the video:

4. General Use of the Service—Permissions and Restrictions

YouTube hereby grants you permission to access and use the Service as set forth in these Terms of Service, provided that:

  1. You agree not to distribute in any medium any part of the Service or the Content without YouTube's prior written authorization, unless YouTube makes available the means for such distribution through functionality offered by the Service (such as the Embeddable Player).

  2. You agree not to alter or modify any part of the Service.

  3. You agree not to access Content through any technology or means other than the video playback pages of the Service itself, the Embeddable Player, or other explicitly authorized means YouTube may designate.

  4. You agree not to use the Service for any of the following commercial uses unless you obtain YouTube's prior written approval:

    • the sale of access to the Service;

    • the sale of advertising, sponsorships, or promotions placed on or within the Service or Content; or

    • the sale of advertising, sponsorships, or promotions on any page of an ad-enabled blog or website containing Content delivered via the Service, unless other material not obtained from YouTube appears on the same page and is of sufficient value to be the basis for such sales.

Q: Can I create Mash-ups?

According to the Copyright Toolkit, prepared for Colleges and Institutes Canada by Wanda Noel and Jordan Snel:

Section 29.21 of the Copyright Act contains a users' right permitting anyone, not just students and instructors, to use copyright-protected works to create new works.

This users' right is referred to in the Copyright Act as "non-commercial user-generated content."

The following conditions apply to the creation of non-commercial user-generated content.

  • it may only be used for non-commercial purposes
  • the original source must be mentioned, if it is reasonable to do so
  • the original work used to generate the content must have been acquired legally
  • the resulting user-generated content does not have a "substantial adverse effect" on the market for the original work.

This users' right allows students to use copyright-protected works to create videos, DVDs or mash-ups, as long as the conditions above are met.

The mash-up provision permits user-generated content created under this users' right to be disseminated. Dissemination includes such as posting to You Tube, or ona a website. 

The users' right is not available if the user circumvents a Technical Protection Measure (TPM) in order to access the content for the mash-up.

Q. What are moral rights?

According to Lesley Ellen Harris*:

The purpose of moral rights is to protect the personality or reputation of the author (and not necessarily the owner) of a copyright-protected work.

There are three kinds of moral rights in Canada's Copyright Act:

  • Paternity — The author's right to have their name on a work, to use a pseudonym, and to remain anonymous
  • Integrity — The right of the author to object to any changes to their work that may harm their honour or reputation as an author
  • Association — The right to prevent anyone else from using their work "in association with a product, service, cause or institution" if that use is prejudicial to the honour or reputation of the author

Canadian moral rights have the same duration as economic rights (50 years after the author's death). They may not be assigned (except in a will) or licensed, although they may be waived.

Moral Rights Under the Berne Convention

Moral rights stem from the leading international copyright treaty, the Berne Convention, which requires member countries to provide the rights of paternity and integrity. Countries may go beyond these minimums and provide additional moral rights, as Canada does with the right of association.

* Lesley Ellen Harris is a recognized educator, consultant and author on copyright law and licensing digital content.

Q: Can I use book covers?

A book cover or jacket is a creative work and the creator is generally not the author of the book itself. If using the fair dealing exception, please weigh the criteria carefully. Although the use may be educational and not for profit, the book cover is art or photography and not part of the book, so its use does not fall within the usual 10% excerpt from a book. Obtaining permission would be the favored option but often the publisher is not the copyright holder for the book jacket and only has permission to reproduce with the book.  Obtaining permission from the actual copyright holder could be time consuming and difficult. If after careful consideration your use of a book cover falls within the fair dealing exception, it is recommended to  use thumbnail, low resolution images if available.

Credit: Mount Saint Vincent University Library Copyright Library Guide
This guide is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial License.

Q: Can I copy a short story from an anthology?

As Fair Dealing does not apply to short stories published in anthologies, the answer is NO. As the Library cannot clear copyright through the publisher of the anthology, we need to seek permission from the original copyright holder (usually it is very difficult to secure permission). Normally a fee is associated with these permissions.

A viable option is to link to short stories found in JIBC databases. 

Q: Can I use materials with a Creative Commons license?

Yes, but you MUST follow the specific conditions of the license. The material should also be cited. "Give credit to the original author in the form of a copyright attribution, note the license type, and indicate whether you have adapted the original." (Concise Guide to APA Style, 7th ed, 2020, p. 205.)

Check out CC - Best practices for attribution