Copyrighted Materials On the Internet

This page outlines your rights related to the copying of copyrighted works on the internet. It includes a list of options for the use of copyrighted works on learning management systems and course websites. If you want to use works outside of these options or you would like to book a consultation related to the content on your course website, please Ask Us.

Learning management systems & websites

If you have a course website or a course space in onQ or another Learning Managment System (LMS) you can post a work that:

  • is your creation and for which you own the copyright
  • is in the public domain (eg. out of copyright) or published using a Creative Commons licence that allows distribution
  • is a copy of a work produced by Canadian, Ontario or US governments
  • is a link to a work that is accessible through the Queen's University Library digital collection (see Library resources section below)
  • is a link to a website on the Internet
  • is a copy of a work on the Internet, under the condition that the work is publically and legitimately posted by or with consent of the copyright holder, there is no clearly visible notice prohibiting educational use, there is no digital lock preventing you from accessing or copying the material, and you give credit to the author of the website
  • is a copy of a work that complies with the guidelines set out in the Queen's Fair Dealing Policy

Want this information in a printable flowchart? Download one here (includes a copy of the Fair Dealing Policy).

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

Electronic reserves (eReserves)

One option for obtaining permission is through our electronic reserve service (eReserves). Through this service, the library will: 

  • Scan print books and journal articles that meet the requirements listed in the fair dealing policy
  • Acquire and process copyright permissions as needed
  • Create and provide links to electronic library resources
  • Adapt materials to meet accessibility standards
  • Make the readings available to students through onQ

For more information please see Course Reserves.

Why would I use a Queen's supported Learning Management System (onQ, MedTech etc.) instead of a website?

There are two copyright related reasons to use a LMS site over a public website. First, if you are using the Fair Dealing Policy to post materials, you must be posting to a learning or course management system site that is password protected or otherwise restricted to students of the university. In addition, if you are getting permission to post materials, copyright holders will almost always require that access to the material is restricted to students enrolled in your class. We recommend that all faculty members and instructors at Queen's University use the LMS supported by their departments to manage their course materials. 

Best practices for posting copyrighted materials to LMS Sites like onQ

  • the electronic copy is made available to the student from a secure server protected by a password or a similar measure that ensures that the copy is only made available to the students enrolled in the course of instruction for which the copy was made
  • the electronic copy is made available to the student on a read-only basis in PDF format or a similar format that prevents the copy from being altered by the student
  • the electronic copy made is deleted once the course of instruction or the series of courses it pertains to has come to an end

In addition, please include the following notices on your course website: 

On the main page of your website: This material is designed for use as part of  <Course Name> at Queen's University and is the property of the instructor unless otherwise stated. Third party copyrighted materials (such as book chapters and articles) have either been licensed for use in this course or fall under an exception or limitation in Canadian Copyright law. 

With or on the copyrighted works uploaded for the class: This material has been provided for research, private study or education. Copying or communicating this material for further distribution (e.g. uploading material to a commercial third-party website) can lead to a violation of Copyright law. Please see Copyright Guidelines for Students for more information.

Library resources

Can I download articles from the Queen's University library electronic databases and upload them to a learning management system like onQ?

While some electronic library resources allow you to download material for use on a secure server by students in connection with a specific course, Queen's University recommends providing a link to the material. To find out more about individual databases, please Ask Us

How do you link to online material in the library collection? 

The Creating Permanent Links page includes instructions for creating links that work both on and off campus.

Ask Us

Ask Us

For help locating resources, using the library, or to request a research consultation, try our Ask Us service.

ask us more