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Instructor Copyright Guide

The following page outlines copyright considerations for textbooks and course materials: 


Library support & physical materials

Courseware & coursepacks

What can I include in my custom courseware?


Order textbooks through the Campus Store’s VIU Textbook Adoption. If you have any questions regarding textbook adoptions, contact the Campus Store.

If you have decided to adopt an Open Textbook for your course, please note that the Campus Store will offer printed copies of your BC Open Digital Textbook for purchase.

Library support & physical materials

Please note that due to publisher restrictions, most digital textbooks cannot be made available through the Library.

Course reserves are available at VIU Library. To place print books, CDs, and videos on reserve, please fill in the online request form at Course Reserves.

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. 

Please see information about distributing a short excerpt under the Fair Dealing exception in the Copyright Act or contact the Copyright Office.

Courseware & coursepacks

What is custom courseware?

Custom courseware packages are collections of material from a variety of sources, compiled into a package format, and sold at the Campus Store. Instructors use these packages to customize material for their courses. Courseware is often less expensive than a textbook, depending on the size of the package and copyright fees.

Who do I contact for courseware?

Order custom courseware through the Campus Store’s VIU Custom Courseware Adoption. If you have any questions regarding custom courseware, contact Janice Speed at

The Campus Store is diligently working to make as many materials available digitally as possible to accommodate the shift to online learning, including offering a digital option, along with the physical option, for all custom courseware.

Copyright responsibilities for courseware

It is the responsibility of the instructor to comply with Canada’s Copyright Act and related laws and VIU’s Copyright Policy (31.02) and its associated documents. Please see the information below about copyright considerations for materials included in custom courseware.

Please contact the Copyright Office for should you have any questions, concerns, or thoughts with copyright considerations for custom courseware.

What can I include in my custom courseware?

Print material

You can include all types of print materials, including chapters of books, a journal article, or a poem or short story from a collection. However, ensure that you do your due diligence and check your copyright considerations:

Non-print material (electronic materials)

You can include electronic materials in your courseware. Ensure that you review any licenses or terms of use prior to submitting your materials. We also encourage you to use stable links (i.e., ez-proxy links) to share materials online with your students. 

  • Use Library-licensed materials (e.g., online journals, eBooks) if the terms of use permit inclusion in a course pack. Contact your Liaison Librarian or to confirm if the material is licensed for course pack use.
  • If the terms of use does not permit inclusion in a course pack, you may link to the material in VIULearn
    • Note: Harvard Business Review does not permit linking to articles under its license
  • Non-print materials often have terms of use or licenses that can be consulted to see what is permitted.
    • If your use is not permitted, then permission is required from the copyright owner
    • You may be able to use a short excerpt under fair dealing, but this depends on the terms of use or license, as the these will take precedence over legislative allowances
  • Contact the Copyright Office should you have any questions or concerns

Other types of material whether print or non-print

There are print and non-print works that are available to you that hold alternative copyrights. You are welcome to use the following materials for courseware: 

  • Use your own work if you are the copyright holder
    • Please note that if you transferred copyright to a publisher, then you may need permission to use the work and should read your publishing agreement for further information
  • Use Open Educational Resources (OER) or Open Access materials
    • These are any materials that are licensed under an open license, such as a Creative Commons license
  • Use public domain materials. While determining if something is actually in the public domain can be tricky, public domain material may be used or adapted without copyright considerations.

Please contact the Copyright Office for should you have any questions, concerns, or thoughts with copyright considerations for custom courseware.

You may also want to consider the ease and flexibility of using VIULearn to distribute course 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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