Copyright & Fair Dealing - FAQs

We are currently in the process of reviewing the information on this page. If you would like clarification about any of the content listed here, or in our new FAQ Knowledge Base, please reach out to the library’s copyright office by emailing

The questions below provide you with general information about the Canadian Copyright Act and the Copyright at Queen's Policy. If you have questions about copyright related to your own publications and research done at the university (eg. your thesis), please see Copyright and your Thesis.

This Copyright FAQ has been adapted for use at Queen's University from the Waterloo Copyright FAQ (University of Waterloo) / CC BY-NC 2.5.

  1. Copyright Basics
    General copyright information, including what it covers, how long it lasts, how you get permission to use someone’s copyright material and how it works internationally.
  2. Copyright in the Campus Classroom
    How you and your students can use other people’s copyright material in your presentations and in class.
  3. Copyright in the Digital Classroom
    What you can and can’t post on your website and Queen's learning management systems (onQ / Desire2Learn / MEdTech etc.) and how to avoid copyright hurdles in your online classroom.
  4. Copyright in the Library (Reserves, Interlibrary Loan & E-Resources)
    What you should know about copyright if you want to photocopy something, place materials on reserves or get an article through Interlibrary Loan.
  5. Copyright and Course Packs
    How copyright works when you’re putting together printed courseware.
  6. Copyright Contacts & Resources
    Who’s available to help you with copyright issues at Queen's University and other useful resources.

Copyright Basics

  1. What are the laws and rules relating to using copyright at Queen's University?
  2. What does copyright cover?
  3. How do I know if something is protected by copyright?
  4. What rights does a copyright owner have?
  5. What is fair dealing and how does it relate to copyright?
  6. How long does copyright last?
  7. What is meant by ‘the public domain’? How do I know if something is public domain?
  8. How does copyright work internationally?
  9. I’m from the States. How is copyright different here?
  10. How do I get permission to use someone else’s work?
  11. What are moral rights and what do they have to do with copyright?
  12. Who owns the copyright in the works I create at Queen's?
  13. What can I do if I find my intellectual property on a note-sharing site like Course Hero? 

Copyright in the Campus Classroom

Please note: This section only applies to uses of works in your physical classrooms – it does not apply to the online classroom or any internet use. Please refer to Copyright in the Digital Classroom if you have questions about this area.

We also have two sections in our Copyright and Teaching guide that relate to classroom use. See In the Classroom for information on how to use copyrighted material in class (presentation slides, videos, handouts) and Print Support Materials for material to be used to support the learning in your class (eg. coursepacks, print library resources).

  1. Can I include other people’s images and materials in my PowerPoint presentations? What if I want to provide copies of the presentation to my students? Or post something on my website or online classroom?
  2. I’ve come across a book chapter that I want to give out to my students. Can I photocopy it and hand it out to them?
  3. Can I play music in class?
  4. Can I play videos in class?
  5. Can students include copyright materials in their assignments and presentations?
  6. I want to display someone ’s work for educational purposes. Isn’t there some sort of exemption for that?
  7. Are there any databases of copyright material that I can use for free without worrying about copyright?

Copyright in the Digital Classroom

  1. Is there any difference between posting something on my own website versus posting something on Queen's learning management systems (onQ / Desire2Learn / MEdTech etc.)?
  2. Can I upload a PDF of a journal article I obtained through the library’s ejournals to Queen's learning management systems (onQ / Desire2Learn / MEdTech etc.) for my students to read?
  3. I gave a PowerPoint presentation in class which includes figures from a textbook. Can I post it on Queen's learning management systems (onQ / Desire2Learn / MEdTech etc.)? I’ll be sure to cite where the figures came from.
  4. Can I scan a print journal article or a book chapter into a PDF and post it on Queen's learning management systems (onQ / Desire2Learn / MEdTech etc.)?
  5. Can I use images or other material from the internet for educational purposes?
  6. Can I upload videos to the streaming server or post to a Queen's learning management system (onQ / Desire2Learn / MEdtech) for educational purposes?
  7. Do I need to ask permission to link to a website?
  8. Can I post examples of my students’ work on my Queen's learning management systems (onQ / Desire2Learn / MEdTech etc.) course or on my personal website?

Copyright in the Library (Reserves, Interlibrary Loan and Electronic Resources)

  1. Can the library help me create links to full-text resources that the Library has already paid for, such as e-journals and e-books?
  2. Can I just link to the electronic journal article myself?
  3. What kind of material can I put on print reserve in the library?
  4. Can I get the library to send me electronic copies of articles using the interlibrary loan service?
  5. What are licences for electronic resources?

Copyright and Course Packs

  1. Do I need to obtain permission to use copyright material in my course packs?
  2. Do I need to obtain permission for other copyright jobs that are printed on campus?

Copyright Contacts and Resources

  1. Who do I talk to at Queen's if I have a copyright question?
  2. Is there anyone available to help me obtain copyright permission?
  3. How can I get more information about copyright?

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