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Copyright Guidelines

Learn more about copyright, Creative Commons licenses, and guidelines for using materials in class.


We encourage all instructors and students to respect the principles of copyright and fair dealing described in the Copyright Act. We also encourage faculty members and students to use materials licenced with open licences (Creative Commons) whenever possible, and apply an open licence to their own works. Check more information with our Open Educational Resources guide.

If you have questions about copyright and fair dealing, contact Derek Yap at

What is copyright?

According to Canadian Intellectual Property Office (2016), "copyright is the exclusive legal right to produce, reproduce, publish or perform an original literary, artistic, dramatic or musical work. The creator is usually the copyright owner. However, an employer—for example, a film studio—may have copyright in works created by employees unless there is an agreement in place stating otherwise."

states that "The term for which copyright shall subsist shall, except as otherwise expressly provided by this Act, be the life of the author, the remainder of the calendar year in which the author dies, and a period of fifty years following the end of that calendar year."

What is fair dealing?

Fair dealing is the ability to use short parts of copyrighted work without permission or the need to pay royalties, as long as certain conditions are met.

As a rule of thumb, teachers, instructors, professors, and staff members, and students in non-profit educational institutions may communicate and reproduce, in paper or electronic form, short excerpts (approx. 10% or 1 chapter) from a copyright-protected work for the purposes of research, private study, criticism, review, news reporting, education, satire, and parody.

Deciding when something is Fair Dealing

Knowing when fair dealing applies can be tricky. The links below provide examples of fair dealing cases and can help you determining if use is or not fair.

Asking for permission

If you cannot determine if fair dealing or other exemptions apply to your case, or if you would like to use more content from a copyrighted work than what is allowed under the legislation, you should ask permission to the creator of the work.

If the material is from a commercial publisher, you may be able to obtain permission through Copyright Clearance Center. If that is not possible, you may want to contact the publisher/author directly.

The following template was adapted from VIU Course Materials and Copyright page.

Subject line: Copyright permission request


Attention: publisher/author

Message: I am requesting permission to [insert type of reproduction/distribution you plan to use. E.g.: photocopy/scan/digitize, upload to Moodle, share in classroom etc.] i the following work:

Authors or creators of the work (year of the work). Title of the work. Journal or book or Website the work appears in. City of publication: Publisher. Volume, issue, pages of the work. URL of the work.

Approximately [insert number of students who will access the work] will have access to the material during [insert term/date]. The course name is [insert name of the course]. No profit will be gained from using this work.

Please confirm if permission is granted to use the work.  If you prefer to grant blanket permission for the work, please indicate that preference in your response otherwise I will renew my request as necessary.

Thank you.



Yukon University

Copyright legislation & policies

Copyright and online learning during COVID-19