Skip to Main Content

Copyright in the classroom


This guide is meant to inform LaSalle College Vancouver instructors of the copyright considerations involve with incorporating the works of others in their lessons and presentations. This guide will outline LaSalle College Vancouver’s position as defined by Canadian Copyright Law; how copyright materials can be used under various licensing subscriptions; and copyright-free alternatives.

Canadian Copyright

Copyright as defined by the the Canadian Intellectual Property Organization is "a legal term used to describe the rights that creators have over their literary and artistic works. Works covered by copyright range from books, music, paintings, sculpture, and films, to computer programs, databases, advertisements, maps, and technical drawings".

Under the Canadian Copyright Act "[g]enerally, an original work is automatically protected by copyright the moment you create it" (Canadian Intellectual Property Office). Registration is not required for this protection. "When others want to copy or use the work they generally need to ask for permission and/or provide payment" (Canadian Intellectual Property Office).

Fair Dealing

In November 2012 "education" was added to the list of purposes covered under fair dealing exceptions to copyright in the Canadian Copyright Act. Unfortunately, at the same time "non-profit" was also added to the definition of Educational Institution, so LaSalle College Vancouver staff and instructors are excluded from using works under this fair dealing exception.

Access Copyright

Access Copyright is a non-profit collective that licenses the copying and sharing of copyrighted works.


LaSalle College Vancouver participates in the Access Copyright - Tariffs for Post-Secondary Education Institutions, allowing the educational institution, its students and its staff to:

make copies of up to 20 per cent of a repertoire work (work from a publisher on whose behalf Access Copyright collects royalties) or make copies of:

(i) an entire page or article from a magazine, journal or newspaper that is a repertoire work,

(ii) an entire short story, play, poem, essay or article from a repertoire work that contains other published works,

(iii) an entire entry or article from a reference work that is a repertoire work,

(iv) an entire reproduction of an artistic work (including any drawing, painting, print, photograph or other reproduction of a work of sculpture, architectural work or work of artistic craftsmanship) from a repertoire work that contains other published works, or

(v) an entire chapter from a book that is a repertoire work, provided that it is no more than 25 per cent of that repertoire work, (Copyright Board of Canada)

These limits cannot be exceeded using the same repertoire work for one course section. (Copyright Board of Canada)  For example, you cannot copy 20 per cent of a book then later in the term, for the same class copy another 20 per cent of that same book.

Copies include reproductions made by photocopying; scanning; printing; transmitting by electronic mail of fax; storing on a local storage device or medium; projecting an image using a computer or other device; or displaying on a computer or other device (Copyright Board of Canada).


Screening videos in class

Though educational institutions are permitted to screen a legally obtained copy of cinematographic work in the classroom under Canadian Copyright Law, LaSalle College Vancouver's is excluded from this permission due to its for-profit status. As such, classroom screening requires permission from the copyright holder of the work or public performance rights (PPR) licensing.

Feature films

LaSalle College Vancouver has obtained blanket PPR licensing through Audio Cine Films (ACF) and Criterion Pictures subscriptions for most Canadian and US studios films as well as a several foreign and independent films are covered.   This allows instructors to screen legally obtained copies (personal, borrowed library, or rental copies) of any of the films in ACF and Criterion Pictures respective repertoires.

Documentary films

Though a few documentaries are covered by our PPR licensing subscriptions, documentary producers tend to exclude them from blanket licensing and instead offer education licensed copies that include PPR. All the documentaries in the library's instructor collection and whenever possible, the titles in the documentary section of the library's general media collection, include PPR licensing.

Determining PPR status of a film

If you are using a personal copy of a film or documentary:

  1. Search the titles on the ACF and Criterion Pictures websites 
  2. If the film is found on either site, it is safe to use in class

If you are using a film or documentary from the LCV library collection:

  1. Search the film title in the library's catalogue (you can filter your search results by DVD or Blu-ray format)
  2. If there is a record, click on the title, then click on the DETAILS tab

    In the notes section, you should see either:


If you are using a film or documentary from the LCV library's Criterion on Demand streaming video collection, all titles include PPR licensing and are okay to screen in class.

YouTube videos

This is unfortunately another area that LCV's for-profit status creates limitations.  If there is a clip you want your students to see, the easiest way would be to provide the link and have the students few the clip on their own.  If you are looking for YouTube video content to show in class, you should use clips that have been legally uploaded by the rights holder and that indicate CC licensing. To find CC licensed YouTube content:

  1. Do a search on the Youtube site

  2. Click on the FILTER icon then select "Creative Commons" under Features

  3. You should see the CC licensing information in the YouTube clips description

Netflix documentaries

According to their site, Netflix is making some of their Netflix Original educational documentaries available for one-time educational screenings. You can browse the titles on Titles that are permitted to be shown with have the following on their details page:


Netflix is proud to present original documentaries that speak to our users in a meaningful way. We know that many of you are as excited about these films as we are; and because of their informational aspects, you’d like to show them in an educational setting -- e.g., in the classroom, at the next meeting of your community group, with your book club, etc. Consequently, we will permit one-time educational screenings, "one-time screening" means that you can't hold screenings several times in one day or one week - but if, for example, you're an educator who wants to show the film once a semester over multiple semesters, that's okay.

Educational screenings are permitted for any of the documentaries noted with this information, on the following terms:

  • The documentary may only be accessed via the Netflix service, by a Netflix account holder. We don’t sell DVDs, nor can we provide other ways for you to exhibit the film.

  • The screening must be non-profit and non-commercial. That means you can’t charge admission, fundraise, solicit donations, or accept advertising or commercial sponsorships in connection with the screening.

  • The documentary shall not be screened at any political campaign events and/or electoral campaigning events.

  • Please don’t use Netflix’s logos in any promotion for the screening, or do anything else that indicates that the screening is “official” or endorsed by Netflix.


Screening videos in a remote class

Our Criterion on Demand streaming video collection and Criterion Pictures/ACF licensing subscriptions allow for the screening of films in physical classrooms only and do not permit screening remotely through an online meeting platform like Zoom or Teams.  If you want your students to watch a particular film, you will have to provide them the link to the film and have them watch it on their own.

Providing content links

Sharing a link to content available on the internet is not considered a violation to copyright.  The following are instructions on how to generate links to library online resources

Links to library ebooks or streaming videos

  1. Search the title in the LCV library catalogue (You can filter your results by "E-book" or "Online videos" format)

  2. Right click on the link and select "copy link location"

Links to library database articles

To share an article from any of the EBSCO databases:

  1. Click on Permalink in the right menu bar of the articles detailed record page
  2. Select and copy the URL that is generated above the title of the article

Copyright-free options

Another option is to use copyright-free materials such as Public Domain or Creative Commons licensed works.

Public Domain

When the copyright expires on a work, that work enters the Public Domain where permission or compensation are no longer required to use it.  Determining the expiry of copyright involves many factor as is demonstrated by this chart from the University of Alberta's Copyright Office:

For more information, please visit UBC's guide on Public Domain.

Creative Commons

Creative Commons (CC) is an alternative to Copyright, that allows creators to "grant the public permission to use their creative work under copyright law" ("About CC Licenses", 2020).  There are 6 different CC licensing types that determine the level of permissiveness granted. Will all licensing types, a minimum requirement is to give attribution to the creator.  CC licensing is the foundation of the Open Education Resource (OER) and Open Textbook movements that seek to create free and/or low cost resources and texts, lowering costs for students and making education more accessible.

Please refer to our OER guide for more information on how source, adopt and adapt OER and Open Textbooks:.


About CC Licenses. (2020, May 22). Retrieved December 29, 2020, from

Canadian Intellectual Property Office. (2016, September 7). What is copyright? Retrieved from

Copyright Board of Canada. (2019, December 7). Access Copyright - Tariffs for Post-Secondary Educational Institutions, 2011-2017. Retrieved from

Scholarly Communications and Copyright Office. (n.d.). Public Domain. Retrieved from

World Intellectual Property Organization. (n.d.). Copyright. Retrieved from