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Audiovisual Works In The Classroom

Audiovisual works are subject to copyright protection similar to print and electronic materials. For the purposes of class instruction, faculty can rely on the principles of fair dealing, educational exceptions, and licenced resources to deliver audiovisual content to their students.

Fair Dealing

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

Short Excerpts

Examples of short excerpts from Universities Canada Fair Dealing Guidelines include:

  • up to 10% of a copyright-protected work (including a literary work, musical score, sound recording, and an audiovisual work)
  • an entire single poem or musical score from a copyright-protected work containing other poems or musical scores

For more details on fair dealing analysis, visit UNB’s Fair Dealing page or contact

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 allows instructors and students to create, for non-commercial uses, new works using copyrighted content (provided the original author is identified, a legal copy of the original is utilized, and the new work does not have a significant adverse effect on the original). See this workflow for creating transformative media projects.

Terms of Use and Legal Notices

Always check the "terms of use" and "legal notices" associated with a given audiovisual 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

A digital lock, or a “technological protection measure” (TPM), is a technology used to control or restrict access to copyright-protected content. Examples of digital locks include passwords, encryption software, access codes, and digital watermarks. The Copyright Act prohibits the circumvention of digital locks to access copyright-protected works. The fair dealing and educational institutions exceptions do not permit the circumvention of digital locks to obtain access to copyright-protected works. In order to access content behind a digital lock you must obtain the permission of the copyright holder.

Audiovisual Resources at UNB Libraries

UNB Libraries offer a wealth of audiovisual resources suitable for classroom use. Search UNB WorldCat for films by title, author (director), or subject/keyword and limit by "Format" in the left hand column of results to available "Video" options (eVideo, DVD, VHS, etc.) See the UNB Libraries Guide to Sound, Film, and Image Collections for useful links.

Audio Cine Films and Criterion Pictures

For non-educational uses of audiovisual content, or uses that exceed the parameter of fair dealing and educational exceptions, consult the licences available through Audio Cine Films and Criterion Pictures or contact

To learn more about copyright in audiovisual works and education please consult the Universities Canada Fair Dealing Guidelines for Universities to Audiovisual Works.