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Use of copyrighted works

When using a copyrighted work, it is important to assess each work and your activity independently to ensure that you are using the work legally.

  1. Determine if the item you are using is from an original source. Unauthorized derivatives cannot be used.
  2. Establish permissions
    • Is there an open licence, such as Creative Commons.
    • Check with the Library to see if Algonquin College has a licence to use the work.
    • Assess your usage using the Fair Dealing guidelines to see if Fair Dealing may apply.
    • If the work is not available under an existing licence and Fair Dealing does not apply, you may be able to purchase a transactional licence or seek permission directly from the copyright holder..
  3. Follow all terms of use as outlined in the licence agreement or Fair Dealings Guidelines.
    • Abide by any Digital Rights Management (DRM) in the form of user agreements, pay walls, notices or watermarks.
  4. Attribute the copy or posting.
  5. When in doubt, contact the Library for more assistance.

A portion of copyright protected works may be used if your use falls within the Fair Dealing exception or is covered under an existing College licence.

Fair Dealing

Copies of short excerpts from literary works may be made on behalf of students for the purposes of education.  A short excerpt may be used for:

  • Instructional activities such as in-class handouts and examinations. 
  • Posted or linked to in Brightspace as essential or supplementary readings.
  • Included in a course pack


  • Fair Dealing cannot be re-applied to the same work during the same academic year (Sept-Aug)
  • Copies of an entire literary work must be from a compilation of similar works (short stories, poems).
  • Copying may not replace the need of a required textbook
  • Copying must be done on campus.

* Please review Fair Dealing page for additional guidelines 

Access Copyright

Under Access Copyright's licence, Algonquin College faculty, staff and students may reproduce portions of literary works found within their repertoire.  This licence allows for additional copying outside the limitations of fair dealing, including:

Copying up to 20% (or 1 chapter if <25%) of a literary work when:

  • Photocopying, faxing, scanning and printing
  • Storing copies on external media or a Secure Network.
  • Transiting by email, upload or post copies within a Secure Network.
  • Projecting and displaying copies.
  • Creating alternative formats

Creating course packs (20% max)

Review Access Copyrights licence details or Search Access Copyrights repertoire

Library's Digital Resources

Licence agreements are generally more restrictive than copyright law. Our licence agreements for digital resources generally allows:


  • Agreements may vary from product to product.
  • Additional Digital Rights Management (DRM) can exist on individual tittles.

Review the licence information on College Library Electronic Access Rights for further details.


Images may be used from collections of similar works, from licenced sources or if published online by the content creator.  Whenever using images, be certain to cite and use the image within the specific guidelines. 

Fair Dealing

Fair dealing allows for the copying of an entire artistic work if it is contained within a collection of other similar artistic works. Under the Fair Dealing exception, artistic works may be used for:

  • In-class activities (lectures, lessons, tests, etc.) 
  • Posted on Brightspace for educational activities.

Online works

Material sourced from publicly available websites may be used for educational purposes providing that they are:

  • Uploaded by creator or rights holder.
  • Not restricted by technological protection measures (digital locks).
  • Cited. Refer to the works licence or terms of use for details. 

Library's Digital Resources

The Algonquin College Library provides access to databases that may provide images for educational use. Use of these materials are limited to specific databases licence agreements.  Please review your usage with the databases licence prior to use.  Review the licence information on College Library Electronic Access Rights for further details.

Fair Dealing

Sound recordings may be played on campus to students or employees of Algonquin College providing it is for:  

  • Education or training purposes (In-class activities)
  • Not-for-profit or done for gain. 

Sound recordings may be used online if:

  • Within the public domain
  • Permissions were granted or a transactional license was purchased.
  • Used as part of a non-commercial user generated content. 

Copyright protected video may be played on campus for educational purposes.  Restrictions and guidelines vary. Be sure to review any licence agreements and any statements of use on the source and its provider prior to playing the video.  

Fair Dealing

Non-infringing audiovisual works may be played on campus providing it is: 
  • For education or training purposes (In-class activities).
  • To an audience made up primarily of Algonquin College students.
  • Not-for-profit or done for gain.
These materials may be:
  • Borrowed or accessed through the library
  • Rented, borrowed, or owned personally. 
  • Recordings of news or news commentary programs (recorded at time of the broadcast).


Documentaries and documentary programs (The nature of things, 20/20, W5 etc.) may be recorded at the time of their broadcast and evaluated for up to 30 days. Royalties must be paid if the material is shown in-class, or if the material has not been erased within 30 days. 

Library's Digital Resources

Library subscriptions have been copyright cleared for in-class viewing.  Links to videos or clips may be posted in Brightspace. Search the library's collection of streaming videos.

Streaming Services

Publicly accessible services (YouTube)

Publicly posted material may be played in-class providing it is from a non-infringing source, and the video or site licensing does not prohibit educational viewing. Reasonable steps should be taken to ensure the copy is uploaded legitimately and that there is no infringing content.

Subscription services (Netflix)

Streaming services that are subscription based such as Netflix or iTunes may not be played in-class.  A transactional licence would need to be purchased from the publisher/distributor.

Fair Dealing

Copyrighted works such a musical score or a play may be performed on campus for:

  • School assemblies 
  • Presentations by students to students, faculty or parents
  • Demonstration activities (concerts, shows, etc.)
  • Educational or training purposes


  • The performance must be on campus during school hours.
  • ​The performance may not be for profit or gain.

Public performances, or performances off campus may only be done using public domain or open licensed works.  

Non-commercial user generated content (mashups), may be created by combining multiple copyrighted and/or original works. Mashups may be posted to Brightspace or to a public website. To qualify under the Mashup exception:

  • The original works must be legitimate and accessed legally.
  • The original sources are mentioned, where reasonable to do so.
  • The new work must be transformative in nature.
  • ​The new work is not used commercially.
  • The new work does not have an adverse effect on the marketability of the source material.


  • Technological protection measures (digital locks) may not be circumvented.
  • If accessed through a licence such as Creative Commons, the original work must allow derivatives.

Distance Education

Documents and/or recordings of lessons, tests or examinations containing copyrighted material may be communicated to students or those acting under the authority of Algonquin College providing:

  • It is communicated in a secure manner.
  • You have established permission to use the material, or your use is permitted by the Fair Dealing exception of the Copyright Act.
  • Any copies made are removed and destroyed within 30 days of the final evaluation.

Additional Resources