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This guide will provide you with resources to help you adapt to working and teaching from home.

Copyright Considerations When Teaching Online

When instructors move course materials online the library staff is available remotely to assist them with questions and in sourcing suitable course material. All staff and faculty are required to adhere to Red River College’s Fair Dealing Policy in regards to copyright content when teaching online and when uploading materials to Learn.

Key points to remember:

  1. Most of the legal issues are the same whether the teaching is done in person or online. 
  2. If it was okay to do in class, it is often okay to do online – especially when your online access is limited to the same enrolled students. 
  3. You can continue to apply the Fair Dealing Policy when using copyrighted material.
  4. If you need material that is above what is permitted by the Fair Dealing Policy please contact the Copyright Officer for assistance.
  5. If you need assistance with sourcing materials and resources to adapt or supplement your online teaching please contact or click on the “Ask Us” button on the library home page to chat with a staff member directly.


Linking is always the preferable way of providing access to content

Linking to publicly available online content (news articles, websites, online videos, etc.) is rarely a copyright issue. To be safe, and to respect the rights of content creators, avoid linking to content that clearly infringes copyright (pirated content) such as full-motion pictures that have been uploaded by independent users. 

Example: Linking to an animated short film uploaded by Disney on YouTube would be linking to a legal copy, linking to a full-length Disney movie uploaded by "Sally123" would likely be linking to a copy that infringes on copyright.

Linking to most YouTube videos, especially ones that allow sharing and embedding, is acceptable for teaching and instruction. Linking to video streaming content through the library is also a great option. Much of the library’s licensed content will have DOIs, PURLs, or other "permalink" or “persistent link” options, all of which should work even for off-campus users.


Additional advice:

  • Use LEARN to make material available to your students, and use software tools Red River College provides or recommends to deliver lectures with copyrighted content.
  • Post your in-class slides to LEARN. Slides provided by textbook publishers can almost always be used, according to their Terms of Use. Please refer to the terms of use when uploading slides.
  • Course readings rules for print and online posting to LEARN are similar. Either use the guideline of your Fair Dealing Policy, link to a resource within the Red River College Library Collection, or link out to Internet content.
  •  The Copyright Officer can help you copyright check readings to ensure they comply with the Fair Dealing Policy, Library Staff can help create links to ebooks and journal articles and more. contact or click on the “Ask Us” button on the library home page to chat with a staff member directly
  • Library staff may be able to help you find alternative content, and the library has a large collection of online journals and ebooks that can help support online learning. Your library staff can also help you find openly licensed teaching materials.
  • Sharing audiovisual material like films and audio files is more complex. But remember you can still link to legally posted online content (from YouTube etc.).  The RRC Library collection also has access to streaming services and video resources that you may link to.


Creative Commons License This resource has been adapted for Canadian universities by the Canadian Association of Research Libraries from material prepared by the Copyright Office, University of Minnesota document Copyright Services, Rapidly shifting your course from in-person to online. Unless otherwise noted, all content is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License. We would like to acknowledge some contributions of adaptation language from the University of Toronto Scholarly Communications & Copyright Office and Ryerson University Library.