Material That You Can Use Freely In Your Teaching

1) Your own notes and works (as long as you have not assigned full copyright to someone else through a contract).

2) Material that is publicly available on the web that you make available via a weblink. Please confirm that it is legally posted and not protected by digital locks.

3) US federal government works and images released to the public, are in the public domain unless otherwise indicated. Canada’s federal government does not require permissions, for personal uses or public non-commercial uses (ie where any charges made are solely based upon cost-recovery), for reproduction of materials produced or published in the federal government — unless otherwise specified in the material itself. Permission of the relevant federal government department or entity is always required, on the other hand, where material is to be revised, adapted, translated or otherwise used — whether or not the purpose is for personal or public non-commercial purposes.

SEE: (James Moore, Minister of Industry, Letter to CLA, Jan. 31/2014)

As well fair dealing can be applied to Canadian Government documents.

4) Material that is in the public domain and the copyright has expired, and is NOT protected by digital locks.

5) Material that was released by the author as open access or under a Creative Commons licence. Please read the terms of the licence to see if modification is allowed if you plan to edit the content.

6) Material is covered by another exception in the Canadian Copyright Act: The most common other exception that will be used by faculty and staff for teaching at a non-profit educational institution is Section 30.04: Work available through Internet. This exception will allow you to copy, play in class, or distribute to students, materials that you have found on the Internet, as long as:

    • the material was posted legitimately (i.e. by the or with the consent of the Copyright owner).
    • there is no clearly visible notice prohibiting educational use of the content.
    • there is no digital lock or technological protection measure preventing access to the material or preventing copying of the material (e.g. password protected material, a digital lock on a DVD).
    • you have acknowledged the author & website.

If you are unsure about what constitutes a clearly visible notice please contact

Another exception that may be used is Section 30.01: Communicating Lessons by Telecommunication. This exception includes a number of requirements that you need to be aware of before using. Please contact if you would like to use this exception.

7) Material that is in a freely accessible repository such as Internet Archive (non-commercial educational use is usually allowed, but please read the Terms Of Use of the website). Please see Teaching Resources to see a longer list of freely accessible resources that you can use in your teaching.

8) Insubstantial use. The Copyright Act does not apply to very small uses that are considered less than a “substantial part.” However how much consistutes insubstantial use is not defined in the Copyright Act. In general, reproducing a few sentences from a periodical article or book as a quotation is not a reproduction of a substantial part of the work. Proportionality is key however, one line of a poem might not be consider insubstantial if the poem is short. You should cite the source of the work in your teaching.