Site Licence/Terms of Use

34. Are there any databases of materials that I can use for free without worrying about copyright restrictions?

Yes. There is a wealth of material out there that either is in the public domain or is available under what is known as a Creative Commons licence, which generally means the work is available for free but is subject to certain limited conditions, such as non-commercial use only and acknowledgement of the creator.

32. May I play videos/movies/films in class?

You may play videos/films/movies in class under the following circumstances:

29. Is there any difference between posting something on my own website versus posting something on one of Waterloo's learning management systems (such as LEARN)?

Yes. Posting something on your own website means you are making the work openly available worldwide. Wide distribution tends toward the conclusion that the dealing is not “fair,” and such uses are unlikely to be covered by any University licences. By contrast, Waterloo's learning management systems are password-protected, secure websites that are accessible to students enrolled in university courses. In some cases, posting material on a learning management system will be covered by one of the University’s electronic subscriptions.

28. May I make copies of copyright-protected works to hand out to students in class? May I include copies of another person’s images and materials in my PowerPoint presentations?

You may make copies of another person’s works and hand them out to students enrolled in your course, and you may also include another person’s work, including images, in your PowerPoint presentations that you display to students enrolled in your course. In both cases, you must adhere to the amount that may be copied under fair dealing. Please see the Fair Dealing Advisory for copying limits.

17. How can I tell if the materials I find online are legal copies?

Figuring out if the content you want to use was legally posted online can be difficult. That said, there are a few things to keep in mind when assessing content that will help you make a more informed decision. If you are having difficulty figuring out if the content you want to use is a legal copy, please contact us at