To create and preserve knowledge in a way that opens and facilitates the dissemination of knowledge to the world, UBC instructors are encouraged to utilize Creative Commons licenses, digital repositories and other open access channels to distribute their teaching materials broadly. These guidelines are intended to help instructors and course support teams make responsible use of third-party copyrighted materials in courses or in educational resources that will be shared openly on the Internet.
If you have questions about the information in these guidelines or how it applies to specific use-case scenarios, please contact Copyright at UBC at firstname.lastname@example.org or 604-827-2006.
For general copyright information, including what it covers, how long it lasts, how you get permission to use someone’s copyrighted material, and how it works internationally, please see UBC’s Copyright Basics FAQ. These guidelines are current as of 2014-03-06.
Many instructors choose to make their teaching and learning materials, resources or full courses publicly available online, which means that anyone with an Internet connection can access and view the resources. This means that when instructors post content openly on the Internet, they are effectively publishing that content online for a global audience.
Using copyrighted materials in an open environment requires more diligence than using those same materials in a classroom or learning management system at UBC. Since the audience is not limited to registered students, the use of third-party copyrighted material is more likely to require the permission of the copyright owner(s), and the inappropriate use of such material is more likely to generate complaints. Further, many of the educational exceptions that allow classroom use of copyrighted material without permission either do not apply in the open environment or apply only in a limited fashion.
Adapted with permission from Kevin L. Smith’s Copyright in Coursera: Guidelines for using copyrighted material in Coursera MOOCs (2012).
Despite the above restrictions, instructors enjoy “user rights”, which are robust rights to use materials without needing to obtain the copyright owner’s permission, including:
Adapted with permission from the Canadian Association of University Teachers’ CAUT Guidelines for the Use of Copyrighted Material(2013).
If third-party copyrighted material is integral to the point of the learning unit or contribution, the use is not permitted by the Copyright Act, and replacing the material with an openly licensed or public domain substitute is not an option, then seeking permission will be necessary. Instructors may enlist the SCCO’s assistance in seeking permission.
Please note that obtaining permission can take some time, and is not always possible. You will need to be prepared with a backup plan if the copyright owner is unresponsive, cannot be located, or requests an unreasonable fee in return for permission. These obstacles are even more pronounced in open contexts, as many creators and publishers are unfamiliar with open online learning environments and unsure of how to handle related permission requests.
For these reasons, we recommend giving yourself a lot of time, and if enlisting the SCCO’s assistance, you should submit your permission requests at least 10 weeks in advance. In the event that permission cannot be obtained, the SCCO is available to assist with finding alternatives. A file record of who gave the permission, what was permitted, the date, and how to contact the person who gave the permission will need to be kept. The SCCO will also assist in managing permission records.
If you anticipate needing to seek permission for excerpts from published books or articles, then please note:
Fair dealing is nuanced and context-dependent. The following sections provide information about fair dealing with respect to certain content, but understand that they are by no means definitive. If you have questions about whether a particular use-case scenario would qualify as fair dealing, please contact the SCCO office.
Applying a Creative Commons license to your teaching and learning materials can help facilitate the distribution and reuse of those materials. Creative Commons is a non-profit organization whose mandate is to make it easier for creators to share their work and/or build upon the works of others consistent with the rules of copyright. They have created standard, easy to use and understand copyright licenses that anybody can apply to their work to allow others to share, remix, or use the work without having to contact the copyright owner to ask for permission. Creative Commons licenses are not an alternative or exception to copyright, they are one way for copyright owners to distribute their work within the copyright framework.
To apply a Creative Commons license to work in which you are the sole copyright owner, you can use the “Choose a License” form on the Creative Commons website. This form helps you choose a license based on your preferences and then generates the appropriate text to apply to print works, as well as the HTML code to apply to online works.
For more information, please see UBC’s Guide to Creative Commons.