Lecture Slides & Recordings

Using Third-Party Content in Lecture Slides Displayed in Class

Displaying third-party owned materials in slides displayed in class is a common and accepted practice. This practice can be continued in full compliance with copyright law, in each of the following circumstances:

  • you have the permission of the copyright owner to do so (which may be permission from the author, or a UBC electronic resource license);
  • the amount of the work being displayed is a Short Except (as defined in the Fair Dealing Requirements for Faculty and Staff);
  • if the material you wish to display is not available for purchase in a medium appropriate for your purposes, at a reasonable price and within a reasonable time (see s. 29.4 of the Copyright Act);
  • if the material is available through the internet and you’ve met the conditions set out in s. 30.04 of the Copyright Act (which include: you must properly attribute the source; you may not circumvent a digital lock to get a copy of the work; or you may not ignore a clearly visible notice on the website that prohibits your use of the work in lecture slides).

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Distributing Lecture Slides

If the third party copyrighted material within your lecture slides qualifies as a “Short Excerpt”, as defined in the Fair Dealing Requirements for Faculty and Staff, or you have received the copyright owner’s permission (which may include an electronic resources license) , then you may post a copy of the lecture slides into UBC’s secure learning management system, provide physical copies to your students, or send digital copies via email.

However, some UBC electronic resource licenses restrict the making or dissemination of copies and limit fair dealing rights. Therefore, if a UBC digital license only grants specific, limited usage rights, and the Fair Dealing Requirements give more generous usage rights, the more limited terms of the UBC electronic resource licenses apply. You can view the terms of the license associated with particular electronic resources at UBC’s License Information page or contact copyright.services@ubc.ca for assistance to confirm whether the terms of the UBC electronic resource license allow this posting.

Please note that when considering the distribution of lecture slides, there is an important distinction between posting the slides to a publicly accessible website, and posting the slides to a website that is restricted to students enrolled in your course. UBC’s learning management systems (e.g. Canvas, Entrada, Connect, MEDICOL) are password protected, secure websites that are restricted to and accessible only by UBC students, and each student’s access is limited to the courses they are registered in. By contrast, most privately owned websites (e.g. YouTube) are publicly accessible, in the sense that anyone may visit it, not just your students. Posting lecture slides containing third party owned copyrighted works to a UBC learning management system is different and far less risky (from a copyright perspective), than posting the same slides on a publicly accessible website.

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Recording Lecture Slides

You may record a lecture, either as a video-recording or “voice-over PowerPoint,” and post the recording of the lecture onto UBC’s secure learning management system for your students to access. If the lecture contains images of third party owned copyrighted material, the use of that material must comply with copyright law.

If the amount of third party owned copyrighted material does not exceed a “Short Excerpt”, as defined in the Fair Dealing Requirements for Faculty and Staff, the fair dealing exception may be applied. Note, it is permissible to use the fair dealing exception to record a lecture for the purposes of delivering UBC courses online.

An alternative to this application of the general fair dealing right described above, is the specific exception for third party owned copyrighted material included in a recorded lesson. This is known as the Lesson Exception (see s. 30.01 of the Copyright Act).

For this exception to apply, the institution and the student must comply with several very important, and limiting conditions, most important of which being that the student and UBC must destroy all recordings of the lesson within 30 days after the day on which the students enrolled in the course have received their final course evaluation.

If you have questions or wish to utilize the Lesson Exception, please contact copyright.services@ubc.ca for more information.

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Lecture Slide Tips

If you are considering using third party owned copyrighted material in lecture slides, and you conclude that your use is not possible without the copyright owner’s permission, which cannot or is impractical for you to obtain, the following considerations may be helpful:

  •  Consider contacting the UBC’s Rights & Permissions service. They may be able to assist you in getting the copyright owner’s permission after all.
  • Consider whether the amount of the material you’re using can be reduced so that it falls within the limits of fair dealing.
  • Consider directing students to the materials, rather than copying the materials. For example:
    • Provide a link to digital content, such as news articles, YouTube videos, images, etc.
    • Create a persistent link to online material or journal articles
  • Consider alternative materials, and in particular:
    • Material for which you own rights (e.g. material that you have created and have not relinquished the copyright – such as to your publisher)
    • Material for which the university already has a license
    • Open Access or Creative Commons-licensed material
    • Materials that are in the public domain

With respect to images in particular, you also have the option of finding images that have been licensed for reuse or that are in the public domain.  There are some excellent resources for finding these types of images online, including:

  • Wikimedia Commons: A database of nearly 20 million freely usable image, sound, and video files. To find any specific instructions for reusing or attributing images, check the “licensing” section on the image page.
  • Flickr Commons: A wonderful collection of public domain images from a variety of libraries, archives, and museums, including the Library of Congress, NASA, the Getty Research Institute, the Museum of Photographic Arts, the Biodiversity Heritage Library, and many more.
  • Flickr Creative Commons Search: You can also use Flickr’s Advanced Search license filter to locate user-added images that are Creative Commons licensed. Just select the license you would like to find images under from the drop down called “Any License.” Check the copyright information, which can be found beneath the date the image was taken, to locate any specific instructions for using the image. Users may also place copyright conditions in their image descriptions.
  • For more resources, see our Image Sources Guide.

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