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Copyright for Faculty: Canvas & Copyright

What can I post on Canvas?

Posting an item to Canvas (or another LMS) does not exempt an instructor from copyright regulations. Therefore, instructors are encouraged to follow copyright "best practices" as outlined in the Copyright Clearance Center’s publication, Using Learning Management Systems.

Note that the guidelines suggested below are based on one interpretation of U.S. Copyright Law. If in doubt, it is always advisable to err on the side of caution and speak with legal counsel.

Item Allowed Not Allowed
Website containing copyrighted material Link to the website via the LMS Copying and pasting the information into the LMS
Copyrighted web image Must be educational in nature; display in the LMS for one semester Repeated use over multiple semesters
Article from a library database Direct linking to article allowed Copying and pasting the article into the LMS
Article, book, book chapter, or DVD obtained through interlibrary loan or otherwise borrowed from another library Permission must be obtained Permission denied or not obtained
Scanned copyrighted image Must be educational in nature; display in the LMS for one semester Repeated use over multiple semesters
Scanned chapter from a book 5% of the total work if in-print; 10% of the total work if out-of-print; allowed for one semester More than the allotted percentages or repeated use over multiple semesters 
Scanned article from a journal, trade publication, or magazine A single article for one semester Multiple articles from the same publication or repeated use over multiple semesters
Audio file No more than thirty seconds without permission Repeated use over multiple semesters
Video file 10% or three minutes, whichever is less Repeated use over multiple semesters

Created by Dan Nolting, Chatham University. Reused with permission.

Canvas Best Practices

  • Whenever possible, link to content available outside Canvas.
    • Use permanent links instead of PDFs.
    • If you can't find a link to content SU subscribes to, ask for help.
  • Teach students to use research tools to find articles and books from citations:
  • When all else fails, limit what you upload to Canvas, after checking Fair Use and TEACH Act guidelines.
    • One article from a periodical, per course
    • One chapter from a book
    • Only content that's closely related to course objectives
    • Original creator and copyright holder citations provided with the material
    • Do Not Reproduce warning included with the material
  • Avoid uploading videos or music. Link to streaming sources like Films On Demand or YouTube instead.
  • Use alternative OER content, licensed under Creative Commons.
  • Avoid making paper copies.

This guide is educational, not legal advice. For complicated copyright questions, or if you receive a cease & desist letter for activity you believe is within your rights, please contact SU's legal counsel.

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