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Instructor Copyright Guide

There is a Student Copyright Guide to help students understanding their copyright responsibilities.

Students hold the copyright to their works as well. Explore the following FAQs for how to advise students on their user rights and copyright responsibilities: 

Copyright compliant projects

Students learning about copyright

Using student work in future courses


Copyright compliant projects

I would like the students I supervise to have copyright compliant projects, posters, theses, and other student works for VIUSpace

VIU student works included in VIUSpace are publicly available and must comply with Canadian copyright law. Students are also required to agree to the VIUSpace submission form. Student theses and other works often incorporate copyright-protected materials not created by the student. They will have to determine whether or not these copyright-protected materials require permission for inclusion in their work.

Students cannot assume the Fair Dealing Exception applies for the use of copyright-protected materials in their work, because the use may not be considered “fair,” particularly with the online availability of the student work to the public through VIUSpace.

A careful fair dealing analysis would have to be conducted. 

Students will need to consider whether they require permission from the copyright owner if their work will be available online through the VIUSpace repository, or elsewhere. Please go through the steps outline on the Requesting Permission page to review what typically requires permission and how to obtain permission. 

Students learning about copyright

I would like my students to learn about copyright considerations for students

There is a copyright Student Guide that includes a short video about copyright and answers common student questions about using copyright-protected materials in course assignments, projects, presentations, and theses.

The Copyright Office also provides workshops, presentations, and instruction in VIU courses on copyright and open licensing, such as:

  • What is Fair Dealing?
  • Finding and using permissively licensed, public domain, and open material
  • Seeking permissions from copyright owners
  • Using and citing material in a copyright compliant manner

Please contact the Copyright Office if you would like to set up a session with your students.

Using student work in future courses

I would like to use examples of student work in my current or future courses

Students own the copyright in the works they create in their courses (except for third-party content they are using but did not create).

If you want to use examples of student work in current or future courses, then you have to obtain the student’s permission (unless the use is considered insubstantial or Fair Dealing, and both determinations require an analysis that can be complex).

For the third-party material used in a student work, you will need to confirm the student obtained the copyright owner’s permission or the materials are in the public domain, used under the Fair Dealing exception, or licensed for such use (e.g., Creative Commons License).

The best practice is to ask for student consent in writing. You may want to ensure you capture the following information and discuss it with the student: 

  • Specify the work you are using
  • Your uses of the work
  • The distribution methods (e.g., posting in VIULearn)
  • The time limits (e.g., for the current course or for future courses)
  • The citation for how the student wants to be credited or perhaps remain anonymous for privacy reasons
  • You may also want to consider whether you will provide students with a post-consent opportunity to ask for their work to be removed from your teaching materials

Do you have questions? Want to learn more? Contact the Copyright Office

The information on this website is provided as guidance for educational purposes and is not intended as legal advice. 

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VIU's copyright website is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

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