Copyright & Teaching In the Classroom

This page outlines how you can copy copyrighted works for use in the classroom.


You can provide:

  • photocopied handouts of copyrighted works (e.g., book chapters) that comply with the guidelines set out in the Queen's Fair Dealing policy (available for download on the Queen's Fair Dealing Policy page).
  • copies of works that are in the public domain (e.g., out of copyright) or are published using a licence that allows distribution (e.g., Creative Commons). (see Copyright & Teaching Resources).
  • print or digital copies of works where you own the copyright.

There are a variety of alternatives available to providing handouts that contain copyrighted works to your class. They include: 

If you wish to copy works outside of these options, you can always request permission.

Presentation software

Section 29.4 (1) in the Copyright Act will allow you to include copyrighted works (eg. images, poems, articles) in your presentation software (eg. PowerPoint or Keynote) without getting permission from the copyright holder.

There are a number of key limitations to this exception. They are:

  1. This exception only applies if you are teaching on campus. Any presentations that occur off campus (including conference presentation and online/distance education courses) do not fall under this exception. If you want to include works in presentations that occur off campus, you will need to get permission from the copyright holder.
  2. Handouts are not included under this exception. This means that you cannot print off copies of your slides or upload copies of slides using this exception. If you are going to print off slides that include copyrighted works, be sure that the materials you use are either insubstantial or fall under another exception in the Copyright Act like fair dealing (see our FAQ). 
  3. This exception only applies if there is no suitable commercial version of the work available for purchase.

Audio & video


Music and news broadcasts are covered under the education exception of the Copyright Act. You are generally safe to play music in class as long as you are on Queen's campus and your audience is made up primarily of students.

News broadcasts (audio & video)

News broadcasts and communications can be recorded from television and/or radio for use in your class. For more information, see the educational exception section of this page.


Videos (cinematographic works) can be played in your class under the following conditions:

  • the video is being shown for educational purposes, on Queen's campus, for an audience made up primarily of students.
  • the video is not an infringing copy or you have no reasonable grounds to believe that it is an infringing copy.
  • the video was legally obtained (from the library, a video store or a video rental store - not downloaded from the pirate bay or another illegal website).

Student assignments & presentations

In most cases, your students can include copyrighted works in their assignments and presentations. Student use of copyrighted materials generally falls within the fair dealing exception as long as the works are used for research, private study, criticism or review. 

If your students include copyright works in their assignments and presentations, they should cite their works properly.

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