The Copyright Act contains exceptions (sometimes referred to as user rights) in addition to fair dealing that you may find helpful. These exceptions and their conditions are listed below.

Use of audiovisual material in the classroom

Special note during COVID19: This exception is for use of materials on the premises of the institution and therefore cannot be used in remote teaching.

Section 29.5, allows use of 'performances' including film (referred to in the Act as a cinematographic work) in the classroom without permission as long as:

  • you show the film on the premises of the institution,
  • you use the film for educational or training purposes,
  • you play the film in front of an audience consisting mainly of students of the institution, and
  • you use a legal copy of the film.

You can search the IST Media Resources Library catalogue to see if they have a copy of the film you want to use, or you can use copies you own, or borrow from a public library. The Media Resources Library also contains content available for streaming; this content is licensed for use in your class.

Work available through the Internet

Section 30.04, Work available through the Internet allows you to copy an entire work that has been made available on the internet without permission as long as:

  • You are reasonably certain that the copy of the work is a legal copy. For more information on this please see FAQ 24.
  • You do not bypass any technological protection measures, ex. Password protection, or digital rights management software (such as Adobe Digital Editions).
  • There is no clearly visible notice prohibiting copying on the website. The notice must be more than simply the copyright symbol (©).
  • You are providing access to only students registered in the course.
  • You cite the source, and provide the name of the creator where available.

Persons with perceptual disabilities

A person with a perceptual disability ("a disability that prevents or inhibits a person from reading or hearing a literary, dramatic or artistic work in its original format", Copyright Act, p. 6) and their support persons or non-profit organizations can make use of section 32 and 32.01 of the Copyright Act to copy, translate, or fix a work in a format that is specifically designed for them, with the following exceptions:  

  • these exceptions cannot be used for cinematographic works (films/movies)
  • these exceptions cannot be used if the work you want to copy, translate or fix is commercially available in a format designed to meet the needs of the person with a perceptual disabilty. For example, if the format required is audio instead of print, and the audiobook is available for sale, you could not translate the print book into an audiobook.

Reproduction for examinations or tests

Section 29.4 (2) allows for the reproduction, translation, public performance, or communication by telecommunication of a work or other subject matter as required for a test or examination as long as the recipients are on the premises of the educational institution.

Non-commercial user-generated content

Section 29.21, or Non-commercial User-generated Content, is widely known as the “Mash-up” or “YouTube” exception. It allows individuals—not institutions—to use an existing work in the creation of a new one, and therefore can't be used for teaching purposes. It could be used by students for creating educational content such as assignments as long as the following conditions are met:

  • The original work is not infringing.
  • The original work(s) are published or otherwise made available to the public.
  • The source and, if given in the source, the name of the author, performer, maker, or broadcaster of the original work(s) are cited in the new work.
  • The newly created work must only be used or disseminated for non-commercial purposes.
  • The new work must not have an adverse effect on the market for the original work.

If you have trouble assessing whether your use is allowable under either of these exceptions, please contact copyright@uwaterloo.ca.