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Instructor Copyright Guide

VIULearn is an excellent choice for student access to course materials that also helps with copyright matters because it is secure, password-protected, and only accessible by students enrolled in your course.

The easiest method to provide access to course materials is to link to it in VIULearn.

Explore how to add content to your VIULearn course responsibly below: 

Sharing materials online

Sharing textbook supplementary materials in VIULearn

Linking to library materials

Linking to online materials

Linking to media

Uploading materials to your VIULearn course or online tool 

Digitizing print materials (scanning)

Sharing materials online

All materials shared online must be copyright compliant, following the same guidelines as in the classroom.

In the Copyright Act, online learning is equal to a live classroom and instructors can share lessons containing copyright-protected works with students digitally, provided that: 

  • The use of the work falls under fair dealing or educational exceptions
  • The audience is only students enrolled in the course. For example, lessons posted to a password protected learning management system, such as VIULearn
  • Students and the educational institution destroy any recording of the lesson within 30 days of the final course evaluation

Copyright ActSection 30.01(1)

Sharing textbook supplementary materials in VIULearn

There may be some restrictions on using textbook supplementary materials in VIULearn. 

Consult the Terms of Use for the supplementary materials or contact the textbook publisher. You may be able to include material based on the Fair Dealing exception in the Copyright Act. Contact the Copyright Office if you are not sure or have any questions.

Linking to library materials

For library materials, use a stable link (also known as a permalink) instead of uploading materials. Stable links ensure students are accessing the most recent version of an article or resources and is more likely to be copyright compliant.

Consult VIU Library’s Stable Links Guide and CIEL’s Creating a Link in Content. Most library-licensed materials allow stable links. Read the license or terms of use for materials to see if linking to or distributing digital copies to students is allowed.

Note: Harvard Business Review does not permit linking to articles under its license.

Openly Licensed Resources

The Library collection includes thousands of open access (OA) journal titles, as well as open books and other open content, that are selected for relevance to learning and scholarship at VIU. Find OA versions of materials using Library OA search and/or Google Scholar (VIU access).

For more information on OA and Open Education Resources (OER), consult the VIU Library OA Guide.

Linking to online materials

For material on the internet, make sure you read and understand any website Terms of Use to make sure linking is not explicitly prohibited.

Faculty, students, and staff at VIU can reproduce, share, or stream works available through the internet, provided: 

  • The use is for educational or training purposes
  • The work is not protected by a digital lock or technological protection measure
  • There is no clearly visible notice prohibiting use for educational purposes
  • There is no suspicion that the work has been posted on the internet without the consent of the copyright owner
    • Should the copyright owner issue you or VIU a take-down-notice, we must comply with their request immediately 

We advise you not to embed or "frame" websites on your VIULearn course.

When you provide the link to the site, you should also include a citation with the author, copyright owner, and source of the materials, to ensure it is clear to students that the website content is not your own material and you are not affiliated with it.

Copyright Act, Section 30.04

Linking to media

Please make sure to explore the Media page if you are planning on including media in your VIULearn course. 

Uploading materials to your VIULearn course or online tool

In cases where a link is not available, you may upload course materials if the materials meet one of these criteria:

  • You are the copyright owner
  • You have received permission from the copyright owner
  • The material is in the public domain
  • The material is licensed for such use (e.g., Library license) or has a permissive license (e.g., Creative Commons License)
    • Make sure to check the license or terms of use for any uploading and sharing on a Learning Management System or online learning platform
  • You have conducted a Fair Dealing analysis and can share the content under Fair Dealing
    • Make sure to include a Fair Dealing copyright notice on the content so students understand their copyright responsibilities

Digitizing print materials (scanning)

If you want to digitize physical materials to upload to VIULearn, there are several options, including:

  • Using phone apps (e.g., Genius Scan, Adobe Scan, phone camera apps) to digitize materials, and using an OCR tool to make the digitized materials more accessible
  • Using VIU Print Services
  • If you need an article or book chapter from a print source in the Library collection to include as a digital course reading in your VIULearn course, please contact The Library will scan the material and email it to you in PDF format. Please ensure your request is copyright compliant. 

In each case, when digitizing materials it is your responsibility to ensure you are complying with copyright laws and copying within the limits allowed. See the Fair Dealing exception or contact the Copyright Office.

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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