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Copyright and Fair Dealing

Can I provide my class with copies of readings and handouts?

YES: a single copy or a short excerpt  from a copyright-protected work may be provided or communicated to each student enrolled in a class or course at Mount Saint Vincent University (distance or on-campus). You cannot copy an entire work (book, journal, or magazine).

Best practices for copying and distributing readings and handouts

  • A short excerpt is commonly interpreted as 10% of a work or 1 single article, chapter, image, or poem from a copyright-protected work containing other artistic works.
  • In a face to face class, do not staple several articles together.  This will become an anthology or a course pack. This scenario is better handled via commercial photocopy services which subscribe to an Access Copyright licence.
  • In an online class site (e.g. Moodle) or when communicating by email, the best practice is to link to resources if there is a legal copy available online, or via the Library's licensed e-resources. If you must scan or digitize multiple documents do not create a single file. This will be considered an anthology.
  • Your handouts must be fee of charge to all students.
  • Avoid systematic or accumulative handouts that in essence would amount to copying an entire work in small installments.
  • Do not copy works that you suspect have been themselves been copied or posted online without the consent of the copyright holder.
  • Public Domain and most Open Access and Creative Commons licensed material can be copied and handed out in the classroom freely.
  • Materials licensed by the Mount Saint Vincent University Library may have different conditions. For example the amount that may be printed from an e-book may vary from 5% to 20% depending on the publisher.
  • Please make sure that all work is properly cited.
This guide is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License. You may copy the guide as long as credit is included. We encourage you to license your derivative works under Creative Commons as well to encourage sharing and reuse of educational materials. Please be aware that many of our guides contain links to subscription-based services for which access is restricted, and collections of resources that may have additional rights reserved. Please consult the licenses and terms of use for each resource.