Can I play music in class?

Yes! The Copyright Act allows you to play a sound recording or live radio broadcasts in class as long as it is for educational purposes, not for profit, on University premises, before an audience consisting primarily of students. However, if you want to use music for non-educational purposes, for example, for background music at a conference or in an athletic facility, a license must be obtained from the copyright collectives the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN) and Re:Sound

Can I play videos in class?

You may play videos in class in the following circumstances:

You may show a film or other cinematographic work in the classroom as long as the work is not an infringing copy, the film or work was legally obtained, and you do not circumvent a digital lock to access the film or work.

If you want to show a television news program in the classroom, under the Copyright Act, educational institutions (or those acting under their authority) may copy television news programs or news commentaries and play them in class. This provision doesn’t extend to copying documentaries, movies, TV series or other content off cable TV for showing at a later time.

Can I show YouTube content in class?

You may perform a work available through the Internet, e.g. YouTube, videos, except under the following circumstances:

  • The work is protected by digital locks preventing their performance
  • A clearly visible notice prohibiting educational use is posted on the website or on the work itself.
  • You have reason to believe that the work available on the internet is in violation of the copyright owner’s rights.

Can I put an entire video on Blackboard for streaming?

While current Canadian copyright law allows you to show videos in the classroom to your students without further licensing (provided you have a legitimate copy), and also allows you to record lessons for students and communicate those lessons for distance students, you do not have copyright permission to format-shift more than 10% of a video for streaming on Blackboard.  A license from the distributor (copyright owner) is required to rip a DVD to MP4 (or other) format for the purpose of streaming on Blackboard.  The cost and licensing terms vary widely for digital rights – the Copyright Office can help you secure these rights.

Can I record video programming from Netflix or other sources and show it to my students later, or place on Blackboard for streaming?

You can record off-air and show up to 10% of film works – a license is required for showing more than 10% of a work that you copied from another source.  Note that Netflix, HBO and other content providers have a contractual agreements that consumers digitally sign which forbid content sharing.  Fair dealing does not supersede these contracts.

For more information about media in the classroom and other copyright information, please consult the Copyright FAQ.