As per Policy 386 - Employee Use of Network Services and Digital Technologies, and Policy 486 - Student Use of Network Services and Digital Technologies, all staff and students are responsible to model safe and ethical use of electronic and social media communication, including respect for copyright, intellectual property and the appropriate documentation of sources.

Canada’s copyright law changed in 2012

Copyright is an evolving concept especially in the digital age. Canada’s copyright law became clearer and easier for teachers and students to follow in 2012. For example, a provision in the Copyright Act regarding the educational use of the Internet allows students and teachers to use publicly available Internet materials for their learning and educational pursuits without violating copyright.

Copyright in K-12 

Staff members in nonprofit educational institutions may communicate and reproduce, in paper or electronic form, short excerpts from a copyright protected work for the purposes of research, private study, criticism, review, news reporting, education, satire, and parody.  Any and all uses should mention the source and, if given in the source, the name of the author or creator of the work.

Practical Information on Canada's Copyright Law

The CMEC Copyright Consortium publication, Copyright Matters!, 4th Edition, provides the education community (teachers, students, parents, and administrators) with user-friendly information on copyright law.

They developed an easy-to-use online resource ( that helps teachers decide whether they are within copyright laws to use certain print materials, artistic works, or audiovisual materials without first getting copyright permission.  We recommend you use this tool if you are ever unsure around the legality or potential copyright issues in using, copying, or sharing a certain resource at your school.

Frequently Asked Questions

What am I allowed to photocopy and share?

A single copy of a short excerpt from a copyright-protected work (paper or digital) may be provided or communicated to each student enrolled in a class or course . A short excerpt means: - up to 10% of a copyright-protected work (including a literary work, musical score, sound recording, and an audiovisual work); - one chapter from a book; - a single article from a periodical; - an entire artistic work (including a painting, print, photograph, diagram, drawing, map, chart, and plan) from a copyright protected work containing other artistic works; - an entire newspaper article or page; - an entire single poem or musical score from a copyright protected work containing other poems or musical scores; - an entire entry from an encyclopedia, annotated bibliography, dictionary, or similar reference work.

Can I copy materials intended for one-time use?

No. Copying, scanning, or printing materials intended for one-time use is strictly prohibited. “Materials intended for one-time use” are workbooks and exercise books into which a student records answers. These are materials created and intended for each student to have their own copy. Once a student completes the answers, these materials are of no use to another student. Any copying from materials intended for one-time use exposes the person making the copy, the teacher, the school, and the school board to liability for copyright infringement. This prohibition does not apply to reproducibles. A reproducible is not intended for one-time use, but is sold or provided with the rights holder’s authorization to reproduce it for educational use.

Can I show an audiovisual work (such as a DVD or video) on school premises without infringing copyright?

The Copyright Act permits showing an audiovisual work such as a DVD or video on the premises of an educational institution provided the following five conditions are met: - The showing must take place on the premises of an educational institution. - The showing must be for an audience consisting primarily of students, instructors, or persons directly responsible for setting a curriculum. - The showing must be for educational or training purposes. - The showing must not be for profit. - The copy shown must not be infringing or the person responsible for the performance has no reasonable grounds to believe that it is an infringing copy.

Can I show YouTube or other free online videos when at school?

Teachers can show audiovisual works purchased or rented from a retail store, a copy borrowed from the library, a copy borrowed from a friend, or a YouTube video. Showing audiovisual works for non-educational purposes, such as fundraising or a family movie night, requires permission and the payment of copyright royalties. Showing movies from subscription services in the classroom is governed by the terms of the agreement between the subscriber and the subscription service. If the agreement provides that use is limited to “personal” or “household” use, for example, then classroom use is not permitted.

Can I show videos or play music from a streaming service (ex. Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime, Spotify, etc...) when at school?

The short answer is no. Showing movies from subscription services in the classroom is governed by the terms of the agreement between the subscriber and the subscription service. A teacher wanting to show a Netflix movie would have to log into Netflix using a personal account. The user agreement the individual agreed to when they created the Netflix account prohibits showing movies in a public venue, which may be a contract violation. That being said, our school district pays for an annual subscription service to Audio Cine Films (ACF), which allows for the presentation/showing of any of their movies and shows while on school grounds (ex. class presentations, assembly showings, PAC movie nights, etc.). Our ACF license offers 1000’s of titles from major studios including Walt Disney, NBC Universal, Sony Pictures, MGM, as well as a smaller number of independent producers. You can find the link to our ACF account on the SD23 Dashboard under Learning Resources.

What rights do school libraries have?

School libraries can: - make a copy for the purpose of cataloguing, internal record keeping, for insurance purposes, or police investigation; - make a copy for the purpose of restoration; - use digital technology to deliver an interlibrary loan copy of a copyright-protected work. Provided a replacement copy is not commercially available in a medium and of a quality that is appropriate for these purposes, school libraries can also: - make a copy of a work “if the original is rare or unpublished and is deteriorating, damaged, or lost”; - make a copy of a fragile document or recording for on-site consultation if the original cannot be viewed, handled, or listened to because of its condition; - make a copy if the original is in an obsolete format, or is in danger of becoming obsolete, or the technology to use the original is unavailable or is in danger of becoming obsolete.

What rights do students have with perceptual disabilities have?

Students with perceptual disabilities, including blind and visually impaired students as well as students with learning disabilities and other physical disabilities, are provided with alternative formats through production centres scattered across Canada. The alternative formats may include audiobooks, Braille, and e-text. Students, and educational institutions on behalf of students, may make a copy in an alternative format of a literary, dramatic, musical, or artistic work (but not an audiovisual work) in a format designed for a person with a perceptual disability. Translation, adaptation, and performance in public for the purpose of serving students with perceptual disabilities, as long as the work is not already commercially available in that format, are permitted. Educational institutions may not make a large-print book for a student with a perceptual disability without permission from the copyright owner.