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Copyright @ NSCC

Copyright information for NSCC faculty, staff and students.

Exceptions in the Copyright Act


While fair dealing is arguably the most robust educational user's right, there are other exceptions in the Copyright Act for educational institutions that may be helpful in your teaching practice:

  • Reproduction for display

  • Right to show videos or play music

  • Reproduction for tests or exams

  • Reproduction for persons with perceptual disabilities

  • Educational institution: Work available through Internet

Non-commercial User-generated Content (29.21) AKA "The YouTube Provision"

A users right available to everyone that permits the use of copyright protected content to make new content.
Sometimes referred to as the YouTube or mash-up provision.

This users right is available to everyone and is not restricted to education use or purposes.
It does have a few conditions:

  • Non-commercial purpose

  • No adverse effect on the original

  • Include credit to the original creators if it is "reasonable in the circumstances to do so"

  • The work used or copied does not infringe copyright

Reproduction for Instruction

You can reproduce copyright protected content in order to display it for an educational purpose in the classroom.

Commercially Available

The right does does not apply if the work or other subject-matter is commercially available in a medium that is appropriate.

Copyright Act, Section 29.4(1)


Show Films and Video Content in Class

You CAN show films and documentaries on campus for educational or training purposes if the following conditions are met:

  •     Educational purpose
  •     Audience is primarily students or faculty
  •     Not for profit -- no admission fees
  •     Legally acquired copy is shown

A legally acquired copy means a non-pirated copy that was:

  •     Purchased
  •     Borrowed from the library
  •     Rented
  •     Licenced content -- ie. NSCC Streaming Video databases
  •     YouTube videos -- posted by or with consent from the copyright owner
  •     Open Source

Copyright Act, Section 29.5

Non-educational Events

For social, fundraiser, or non-educational events, a public performance rights licence is required to show films.  Audio Cine Films and Criterion Pictures provide various licencing options such as one-time screening, annual performance, etc.  Please contact your Campus Library if you would like more information.    

Streaming Video

NSCC has licensed access to high quality streaming video collections.
Faculty, staff and students can access these collections through the library website.
Learn more about these resources on the Streaming Video Guide.

The Copyright Act includes an exception for tests or examinations. You can:

  • copy content required for a test or examination, provided that the test or examination is not already available in a commercial format;
  • communicate a work by telecommunication required for a test or examination, provided the test or examination is not already available in a commercial format;

Copyright Act, Section 29.4(2)

The Copyright Act defines a perceptual disability as:

a disability that prevents or inhibits a person from reading or hearing a literary, musical, dramatic or artistic work in its original format, and includes such a disability resulting from

(a) severe or total impairment of sight or hearing or the inability to focus or move one’s eyes,

(b) the inability to hold or manipulate a book, or

(c) an impairment relating to comprehension;

Section 32.01 of the Canadian Copyright Act allows the making of an alternate format “specially designed for persons with a perceptual disability” as long as an appropriate alternate format is not commercially available.

Copyright Act, Section 21.01


If you require an alternate format contact NSCC Disability Services.

Work available through Internet

An educational institution exception.

You can copy content from websites for an educational purpose if your copying meets the following conditions:

  • The website content is posted by or with permission from the copyright owner.
  • The content is not protected by a digital lock -- for example password protected access to content.
  • There is no notice on the website that prohibits copying -- check for a terms of use statement on the website.
  • A notice must be more than a copyright symbol or all rights reserved statement.
  • You give credit for the copied content. The credit must include attribution to the website, and include creator names if mentioned along with the url.

Important Note: This exception does not apply if the educational institution or person acting in their educational role  knows or should have known that the work or other subject-matter was made available through the Internet without the consent of the copyright owner.

Copyright Act, Section 30.04(1-5)

Digital Lock

The Copyright Act of Canada defines a technological protection measure (commonly referred tp as a digital lock) as:

  • any effective technology, device or component that, in the ordinary course of its operation,
  • controls access to a work, to a performer’s performance fixed in a sound recording or to a sound recording and whose use is authorized by the copyright owner or
  • restricts the doing — with respect to a work, to a performer’s performance fixed in a sound recording or to a sound recording — of any act referred to in section 3, 15 or 18 and any act for which remuneration is payable under section 19.

Copyright Act, Section 41.0

In plain language this means a digital lock is any digital mechanism for limiting or preventing access and includes :

  • Passwords
  • Access Codes
  • Encryption Software