Copyright Online

Is posting a work on my personal website the same as downloading it into Moodle?

No.  Posting a work on your own website means you are making it publicly available world-wide, and wide distribution tends to be an indication of dealing with a work that is not fair.  In contrast, learning management systems such as Moodle provide a password-protected, secure Web environment accessible only by students in enrolled courses.   But even if a work is a Library database covered by a license agreement, the usage rights in the agreement sometimes specifically prohibit downloading works into a learning management system and other electronic means of making the work accessible to students in a course.

Before you post, download, or distribute copyright works using any type of online system, please be aware that you need to determine whether your use is covered by fair dealing, or an open access or institutional license (e.g., licensed Library full-text databases).  When your use is substantial and not covered under the Copyright Act or a license agreement, you need to seek permission from the copyright owner.  A typically risk-free alternative is to provide students with a persistent link to the work from Moodle or a class website.  Because providing a link to a work does not constitute making a copy of the work, in general there is no risk of copyright infringement.

May I download a PDF article from a Library database into Moodle?
The license agreements for many of the electronic resources provided by the Library allow instructors to download articles and other works into secure learning management systems such as Moodle.  To determine the usage rights applicable to a particular article, look up the title of the journal in which it is published using the Library's Copyright Permissions Look-up tool.

While downloading an article into Moodle, when permitted, has some benefits, it is also worth noting that doing so may mean that your students do not have the most recent version of the article.  Publishers sometimes make corrections or changes to articles after initial publication, and if such changes are made after you download a copy, students accessing the article in Moodle will not see the latest changes. 

A persistent link is the best way to ensure access to the most recent version of an article.  Linking to the article also allows the Library to track use and obtain data about the importance to the University of a particular journal or other electronic resource.  The Library provides instructions on how to create persistent links for its licensed databases, and the Library's Information and Research Assistance Desk staff can provide assistance if needed. 

Can I post a figure from a textbook into Moodle?
It depends.  In some cases, textbook publishers will allow you to include copies of figures into slide presentations or learning management systems, but usually only when the textbook is a required text for the course.  You should check with the publisher first before posting the figures, and comply with whatever conditions they impose on your use of the work.  If you don’t have permission from the publisher, you may still be able to include the figures if your instructional use is in compliance with the fair dealing exception to copyright infringement in the Copyright Act that covers education, criticism, or review of a work.  Please note that using a substantial part of a work on a systematic, repeated basis is not likely to qualify as fair dealing.  If you wish to use copies of the same figures in your course every year in a manner that likely goes beyond fair dealing, you should obtain permission from the copyright owner.

May I scan an article or book chapter and post it in Moodle?

Scanning a copyright work and posting it in a Moodle course without copyright owner permission is not permitted unless your use is covered by fair dealing, copyright owner permission, or a Library license covering a subscribed database. The fact that the University's learning management system is password protected and supports educational purposes does not mean you may post anything you want in it.

For journal articles a first step is to check the Copyright Permissions Look-up tool to determine whether the article you wish to scan already exists in electronic format in one or more of the Library's journal databases. If it does, the next step is to examine the permissions summary for each database to see whether downloading articles into Moodle is permitted. If downloading articles is not permitted, consider whether providing a persistent link to an article in Moodle may suffice.

Some license agreements do not explicitly permit downloading of content into Moodle but acknowledge the availability of statutory fair dealing rights, which are format neutral. In July 2012 the Supreme Court of Canada rendered an affirmative decision on the question of "whether photocopies made by teachers to distribute to students as part of class instruction can qualify as fair dealing under the Copyright Act" (2012 SCC 37), and in doing so took into account the six fair dealing factors laid out in a previous Supreme Court of Canada decision (2004 SCC 13). See the Guidelines for Copying under Fair Dealing for a general overview of the kinds of copying that can qualify as fair dealing.

To avoid copyright infringement when licensed use and fair dealing do not apply, you should obtain the copyright owner’s consent, or contact the University Copyright Advisor for assistance in exploring whether other options are available.

Can I use Web-accessible content for educational purposes?

It depends on how the copyright owner has made the material available.  Section 30.04 (Work available through Internet) of the Copyright Act provides that if there is no reason to believe the material is available without the copyright owner's consent, and the material and the Internet site where it is available are not protected by a technological protection measure that restricts access and there is no clearly visible notice prohibiting the desired use on the site, an educational institution may undertake the following uses of a work available through the Internet without infringing copyright:

  1. reproduce it;
  2. communicate it to the public by telecommunication, if that public primarily consists of students of the educational institution or other persons acting under its authority;
  3. perform it in public, if that public primarily consists of students of the educational institution or other persons acting under its authority; or
  4. do any other act that is necessary for the purpose of the acts referred to in paragraphs (a) to (c).

Section 30.04 of the Copyright Act also states that the above uses of a work available throught the Internet do not apply unless the following are mentioned:

  1. the source; and
  2. if given in the source, the name of
    1. the author, in the case of a work,
    2. the performer, in the case of a performer's performance,
    3. the maker, in the case of a sound recording, and
    4. the broadcaster, in the case of a communication signal.

Your desired use of Web-accessible material may also be covered by a Creative Commons license or another exception to infringement under the Copyright Act, or permission from the copyright owner.  You should check the site’s Terms of Use or Legal Notices section to determine if there are applicable use conditions imposed by the copyright owner. 

Can I incorporate films or other copyrighted content in my online course?

As of 2012, the Copyright Act offers a provision that facilitates the use of copyrighted materials in online learning environments. Under s. 30.01, in relation to a "lesson" (a lesson, test or exam), it is not an infringement of copyright for the University or a person acting under its authority to:

  1. communicate the lesson to students via telecommunication (e.g., via Moodle)
  2. fix (e.g., record) the lesson in order to communicate it to students
  3. do any other acts necessary to communicate or fix the lesson.

In general, s. 30.01 allows the University to exercise applicable infringement exceptions in online learning environments that the Copyright Act otherwise restricts to the premises of an educational institution. It does so by providing that during a student's enrollment in an online course offered by the University, the student "is deemed to be a person on the premises" of the University.

A student receiving a lesson under s. 30.01:

  • may make a copy of the lesson to listen to or view at a later time, and
  • must destroy the copy of the lesson within 30 days after students in the course have received their final evaluations.

Under s. 30.01, the University and anyone acting under its authority other than a student must:

  • destroy all fixations of the lesson within 30 days after students in the course have received their final evaluations
  • take reasonable steps to limit communication of the lesson to students enrolled in the course, and
  • take reasonable steps to prevent students from fixing, reproducing or communicating the lesson beyond what is allowed in this provision.

To meet the above institutional conditions, the lesson must be communicated via a secure network or platform such as Moodle or WebEx that restricts student access to those enrolled in the course.

Do I need to ask for permission to link to a website?
Generally no, but you should check the website’s Terms of Use or Legal Notices section to see whether any linking prohibitions are specified.  If there are none, you may link to the website but make sure that the webpage opens up in a different browser window or tab.  If the webpage does not clearly identify the website and content owner, you should also indicate the author, copyright owner, and source of the link to avoid any suggestion that the content accessible via the link is your own material or that your website or document is affiliated with the other site.

Can I share an article with a colleague at another institution?
It depends.  For many of the Library' subscribed databases, the license agreeement permits non-systematic transmission of reasonable amounts of the licensed resource by University faculty, students, and staff to a colleague at another institution under a scholarly sharing usage right for purposes that may include research, educational, personal, or professional use.  To check whether scholarly sharing of an article is permitted, search for the journal using the Library's Copyright Permissions Look-up tool. 

May I post student works in Moodle or on my personal website?
You may do so, but only with the student’s permission.  Students own the copyright in the works they create. The University has the right to make copies of student work when necessary to carry out its functions and to fulfil its obligations to its students, but this right does not extend to making copies of student work available online. Accordingly, you should ask students in advance whether they consent to have their work posted online and keep written records of the student permissions received.

How can I use Harvard Business Review articles as assigned course readings?
Harvard Business Review (HBR) articles can be accessed online by current U of L students, faculty and staff via Business Source Complete. Note, however, that the "Notice of Use Restrictions" appended to HBR articles prohibits their use "in electronic reserves, electronic course packs, persistent linking from syllabi or by any other means of incorporating the content into course resources." One alternative for instructors is to provide citations to assigned HBR readings and direct students to retrieve the articles in Business Source Complete. In most cases students will be able to read and print or save the articles.

In August 2013 the publisher introduced an additional read-only access restriction in Business Source Complete on the top 500 most frequently used HBR articles. The full Business Source Complete record describing a top 500 HBR article now contains a note stating "The publisher offers limited access to this article. The full text cannot be printed or saved."

Because of the above publisher-imposed restrictions on using online HBR articles, instructors may wish to consider using the Library's print and microform holdings as a source for copying and distributing fair dealing amounts of HBR articles as course readings. The distribution format of HBR articles sourced from the Library's print or microform collections can be print (e.g., coursepacks) or secure online access (e.g., Moodle or Electronic Reserve). Amounts beyond fair dealing will require copyright owner permission.

For help in determining the copyright- and license-compliant mode of accessing HBR articles best suited to your course, please contact the University Copyright Advisor.