Copyright Considerations for the Online Learning Environment

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This teaching tip was prepared by Conestoga College’s Library Services department.

Library Services, Conestoga College

Use this Q&A guide to find answers to some of your copyright questions related to virtual teaching.

Showing Videos in a Virtual Class

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Q: Can I copy a DVD and upload it to eConestoga?

A: Copying an entire DVD without permission from the copyright owner would not meet the criteria for fair dealing and would infringe copyright in Canada.

  • Helpful Tip: Connect with the Library to see if there is a streaming copy available or a suitable alternative.

Q: Can I play a DVD of a complete movie on my computer and share my screen with students via Zoom so that students can watch the video?

A: The exception in the Copyright Act that allows a video to be shown for educational purposes mandates that it be performed on the premises of an educational institution. Since Zoom classrooms are not on the Conestoga premises, it is not permissible to show a complete DVD via Zoom.

  • Helpful Tip: Showing a short excerpt from a DVD playing on your computer via Zoom might be within fair dealing. Contact James Yochem or Tessa Dueck to see if your intended use fits the criteria for fair dealing.

Q: Where can I find videos for my class that are copyright- and AODA-compliant?

A: The Library offers thousands of streaming videos, which can be shared on eConestoga by either embedding or providing a link to the video.

  • Helpful Tip: You can search for relevant content in individual streaming video databases. Library staff will also be happy to help you search.

Q: Can I stream a video from one of the Library’s databases live using Zoom?

A: Many of the license agreements with database providers do not allow showing a Library video in a third-party system.

  • Helpful Tip: Post links to the video (including YouTube videos) in eConestoga and have your students watch the video before class.

YouTube Videos

Q: Can I use YouTube videos in my class for educational purposes?

A: You can use YouTube videos for educational purposes if the video fits certain criteria. Visit the Library’s Copyright Guide to see the criteria.

  • Helpful Tip: Provide the links to YouTube videos in eConestoga so students can watch the video before virtual class lessons.


Q: Can I copy material from textbooks and distribute the material electronically to my students?

A: Copying from any textbook or journal must be within fair dealing.

  • Helpful Tip: There are multiple factors that go into determining if fair dealing can be applied to copying from a book. Contact James Yochem or Tessa Dueck to see if your intended use fits the criteria for fair dealing.

Images in Presentations

Q: Can I include images that I find online in my PowerPoint presentations?

A: Images found on the Internet, including those on Google Images and other image search engines, are protected by copyright. Please review the Library’s Copyright page for guidelines on using images for educational purposes.

  • Helpful Tip: The Library has image databases that faculty can use for PowerPoint presentations.

Getting Help


Copyright Act, R.S.C. c. C-42 (1985).


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