Administrative Procedure 190: Copyright

Legal References

Ministry of Education Policy/Program Memorandum 157: Use of Copyright-Protected Works for Education; Canadian Copyright Act as updated by Copyright Modernization Act; Fair Dealing Guidelines - Council of Ministers of Education Canada (CMEC) Copyright Consortium

Related References

1. Copyright Protection
1.1 Copyright exists to protect the interests of the creator of any intellectual work such as books, magazines, photos, diagrams, sound recordings, movies, television shows, artworks, graphic designs, and computer software amongst other things. This gives the creator control over how it is copied or used.
1.2 In 2012 the Copyright Modernization Act enactment amended the Copyright Act to include “education” as an allowable purpose within the fair-dealing provision.
1.3 The Avon Maitland District School Board (AMDSB) complies with the Fair Dealing Guidelines as developed by the Council of Ministers of Education Canada (CMEC) Copyright Consortium.
1.4 This administrative procedure outlines the annual responsibility of the principal to ensure that all staff understand the obligations of the school board in accordance with the Copyright Modernization Act.
1.5 The Corporate Services Department oversees the communication and assists with public performance licensing for individual schools.

2. Fair Dealing Exception Guidelines
2.1 The fair dealing provision in the Copyright Modernization Act permits use of a copyright-protected work without obtaining permission from the copyright owner or paying copyright royalties. To qualify for fair dealing, the following two “tests” must be passed.
2.1.1 First, the "dealing" must be for a purpose stated in the Canadian Copyright Act: research, private study, criticism, review, news reporting, education, satire, and parody. Educational use of a copyright-protected work passes this first test.
2.1.2 The second test is that the dealing must be "fair." The Supreme Court of Canada provided guidance as to what this test means in schools and post- secondary educational institutions.
2.2 These guidelines apply to fair dealing in non-profit K-12 schools and post-secondary educational institutions and provide reasonable protection for the owners of copyright works in accordance with the Copyright Modernization Act and the Supreme Court decisions.

3. Copyright Application
3.1 All staff members in non-profit educational institutions may communicate and reproduce, in paper or electronic form, short excerpts from a copyright-protected work for the purposes of research, private study, criticism, review, news reporting, education, satire and parody.
3.2 The name of the author or creator should be mentioned if copying or communicating from a copyright-protected work under these Fair Dealing Guidelines for the purpose of news reporting, criticism or review.
3.3 A single copy of a short excerpt from a copyright-protected work may be shared with or communicated to every student enrolled in a class or course:
    1. as a class handout;
    2. as a posting to a learning or course management system that is password protected;
    3. otherwise restricted to students of a school or post-secondary educational institution; or,
    4. as part of a course package.
3.4 A short excerpt means:
    1. up to 10% of a copyright-protected work (including a literary work, musical score, sound recording, and an audiovisual work);
    2. one chapter from a book;
    3. a single article from a periodical;
    4. an entire artistic work (including a painting, print, photograph, diagram, drawing, map, chart, and plan) from a copyright-protected work containing other artistic works;
    5. an entire newspaper article or page;
    6. an entire single poem or musical score from a copyright-protected work containing other poems or musical scores; or,
    7. an entire entry from an encyclopedia, annotated bibliography, dictionary or similar reference work.
3.5 Copying of consumables is strictly prohibited. A consumable is any workbook-styled published document intended to be used once.
3.6 A current copy of the Fair Dealing Guidelines information must be posted near each photocopier.
3.7 Additional information and answers to various questions on copyrighting can be accessed via the new online tool “Copyright Decision Tool” found at
3.8 Copying multiple short excerpts from the same copyright-protected work, with the intention of copying essentially the entire work, is prohibited.
3.9 Copying or communicating that exceeds the limits in these Fair Dealing Guidelines may be referred to the Corporate Services Department for evaluation. An evaluation of whether the proposed copying or communication is permitted under fair dealing will be made based on all relevant circumstances.
3.10 In the instances where a fee is charged by the individual school and/or board for communicating or copying a short excerpt from a copyright-protected work, this fee must be intended to cover only the costs, including overhead costs. Examples of this might be family movie nights or school dances.

4. Procedures for Electronic Media
4.1 The principal and teachers are responsible for the proper use of media software and copyright material within the individual school. Proper use means that the law and administrative procedures must be respected.
4.2 The principal shall review, annually, this Administrative Procedure with all users.
4.3 Teachers shall not promote, condone or allow students to make illegal use of media software or any material subject to copyright laws.
4.4 All employees shall use software in accordance with the conditions (license) established for its use (i.e., one school only, one machine only, several machines, etc.).
4.5 All employees shall refrain from using any software other than that which has been obtained through proper procedures as outlined in Administrative Procedure 140 Technology: Responsible Use and Security (board or school purchase and/or license).
4.6 Principals are to ensure that a copy of invoices and/or proof of purchase is filed for future retrieval. Program media, manuals, actual paper licenses, etc. may also serve as “proof of purchase”.
4.7 Cloud based or networked software may require a special version of a software to be licensed.
4.8 Audio-visual works can be ‘performed” (i.e., shown) in the classroom under the updated Copyright Act requirements. Outside the classroom or before/after regular classroom school hours, such audio-visual works shown in their entirety must have been purchased with a public performance license. However, up to 10% of a copyright-protected audiovisual work may be shown in compliance with the updated Copyright Act legislation.
4.9 Commercially produced music or graphics (images) must be assumed to be copyright protected. Use of this media in schools by staff or students may only occur if written permission from the copyright holder has been obtained in advance, unless use is a short excerpt only, as outlined in Section 3.4 above.
4.10 Teachers and students may use publicly-available Internet Materials (information, images and sound files) for their routine classroom learning activities and educational pursuits, such as downloading, saving and sharing. Web based information used by staff or students should note proper citation of the source in the same way using print materials would be credited. Copying information from the Internet without written permission is a breach of copyright under Canadian law.
4.11 Courses of study in the intermediate and senior divisions which require students to assemble and reproduce research materials and documentation shall include discussion with students on such topics as the ethical and practical problems associated with copyright infringement, plagiarism, etc. so that students are made aware of the general requirements of the updated Copyright Act.
4.12 Written permission from authors and/or copyright holders shall be obtained prior to the reproduction of materials, in their entirety, which are covered by copyright, except items noted in Section 3.4 above. Staff members of AMDSB are reminded that the district does not condone the illegal reproduction of copyrighted materials, and therefore will not provide legal insurance or protection to those who are charged with copyright violations.

5. Resources
5.1 In the event that after this Administrative Procedure has been reviewed and there are still outstanding questions regarding copyright, the staff member should inquire with the principal before possible copyright infringement. If additional assistance is still required, inquiries should be directed to the Corporate Services Department by the principal.
5.1.1 Each September, a System Memo will be released by the Corporate Services Department detailing the requirements of the Copyright Modernization Act and explaining how principals can share this information with staff.
5.1.2 For further questions and answers, see Appendix A - Copyright FAQs.
Appendix A - Copyright FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) - please refer to pdf
Revised May 2023