Images in the Classroom

The Federal Court of Canada issued its decision in the litigation between Access Copyright and York University. The text of the decision is available online. UNB along with most institutions across the country are currently reviewing this decision to determine what impact it might have on our established Copyright policies and procedures.

Images, much like sound and audiovisual works, are subject to copyright protection. The vast majority of images found on the web are copyright-protected and must be used in accordance with the Copyright Act and licence terms, unless they explicitly indicate otherwise. For the purposes of class instruction, faculty can rely on the public domain, licenced resources, fair dealing, and educational exceptions to deliver images to students.

Public Domain and Open Licences

Public domain is the term used for materials that are no longer covered by copyright law. The Canadian Copyright Act limits the term of copyright to the life of the author or creator plus fifty years. After the term of copyright expires, the work becomes public domain. This means materials in the public domain may be reproduced in any form without the permission of the copyright owner.

There are numerous web resources that provide access to images with less copyright restrictions. Here are a few examples:

Image Resources at UNB Libraries

The UNB Libraries Guide to Fine Arts offers a several image resources suitable for classroom use. See the Find Images/Video tab for useful links.

Fair Dealing

According to the principles of fair dealing, instructors and faculty are free to communicate short excerpts of visual works via lecture presentation, handout, e-mail communication, and/or D2L.

Short Excerpt

A short excerpt means:

  • up to 10% of a copyright-protected work (including a literary work, musical score, sound recording, and an audiovisual work)
  • an entire artistic work (including a painting, print, photograph, diagram, drawing, map, chart, and plan) from a copyright-protected work containing other artistic works

Depending on the outcome of Fair Dealing analysis, in some instances, it may be fair to copy more than 10% of a work, such as an entire image. In such case, the image must satisfy the remaining Fair Dealing analysis factors with an increased burden on the user to justify the reproduction. If the entire image is to be reproduced, it has to be clear that no less than the entire image is needed to achieve the allowable purpose under fair dealing and that there are no other alternatives available (such as images in the public domain or images licenced for use by the UNB community).

Educational Exceptions

The educational exceptions to the Copyright Act enable instructors to display or perform entire copyrighted works, such as feature films or television programs, for educational and non-profit purposes to an audience consisting primarily of students. Feature films shown in the classroom must be legally obtained copies personal or otherwise.

Moreover, the educational internet use exception permits the copying or communicating of an entire work from the web (provided you identify the original source and utilize a legal copy that does not contravene digital locks or any notices prohibiting the use of the work).

Furthermore, the mash-up exception to copyright allows instructors and students to create, for non-commercial uses, new works using copyrighted content (provided you identify the author, utilize a legal copy of the original, and the new work does not have a significant adverse effect on the original).

Terms of Use and Legal Notices

Always check the "terms of use" and "legal notices" associated with a given visual work. These terms and notices outline the details of the licence agreement that may limit how and when the work may be used. Limitations set out in a licence agreement take precedence over the Fair Dealing Policy.

Digital Locks

Some copyright holders use digital locks to restrict access to copyright-protected works and/or to limit the use that can be made of such works. The Copyright Act prohibits the circumvention of digital locks to obtain access to copyright-protected works. The Fair Dealing Policy does not permit the circumvention of digital locks to obtain access to copyright-protected works. In order to access content behind a digital lock it is necessary to obtain the permission of the copyright holder.

Copyright Video Tutorials

Watch our copyright video tutorials for an overview of copyrighted materials frequently used in university classrooms, including images, and learn how to utilize these materials within the limits of copyright legislation and licences.

FAQs

Can I incorporate a copyrighted image (such as a chart, map, photograph, or diagram,) into a PowerPoint presentation and project it in the classroom?

Yes. Instructors can project a complete copyrighted item, such as an image, on a screen for in-class teaching, without copyright permission. While items such as graphs, charts, maps, photographs, diagrams or drawings are considered complete, stand-alone items, it is possible to copy the entire work within the limits of Fair Dealing or Educational Exceptions. Specifically, images can be copied if they are portions of a larger copyrighted work. If the image is a stand-alone publication, it may require copyright permission before further copying. Please contact copyright@unb.ca for more information.

Can I show an image from a website to my students in class?

Yes. The educational internet use exceptions to the Copyright Act permit the copying or communicating of an entire work from the web in the classroom provided you identify the original source and utilize a legal copy that does not contravene digital locks or any notices prohibiting the use of the work.

Can I provide photocopies of images to students in my class?

Yes. You can provide photocopies of images to your students as long as the images come from a larger copyrighted work and your copying meets the limits of Fair Dealing guidelines. If an image is a stand-alone publication, it may require copyright permission before further copying. Please contact copyright@unb.ca for more information.

Can I post images for my students on Desire2Learn?

Yes. Materials uploaded to Desire2Learn, however, must fall either within the terms of UNB Libraries licence agreements, educational exceptions, or fair dealing.

UNB Libraries strongly encourage instructors and faculty to use the Course Reserves when dealing with images and other course materials.