Can I Use That?

A Quick Guide to Copyright In Canada

Copyright Confusion

Copyright rules are always changing and it can be very difficult to keep up. This is a quick guide to help you navigate the world of copyright to ensure that you are not infringing on copyright in an educational setting. Below is a list of how much of a work you can copy without infringing on copyright.

How Much Can I Copy?

The following explains just how much you can legally copy from a copyright-protected work:


  • up to 10% of a copyright-protected work (i.e. literary work, musical score, sound recording or an audiovisual work)
  • one chapter from a book
  • a single article from a periodical
  • an entire artistic work (i.e. a painting, print, photograph, etc.) from a copyright-protected work
  • an entire newspaper article or page
  • an entire single poem or musical score from a copyright-protected work containing other poems or musical scores
  • an entire entry from an encyclopedia, annotated bibliography, dictionary or similar reference work

Copyright Do's

  • Copying for instruction, tests and examinations
  • Copying statues, regulations and court decisions foruse in class
  • Copying for students with perceptual disabilities
  • Listening to a sound recording, the radio or TV in your class (with conditions)
  • Performance of a play in class
  • Performing live music (with conditions)
  • Using copyright-protected works to create new works
  • Copying news and news-commentary programs from radio or television
  • Showing an audiovisual work on school property (as long as it is not Netflix)
  • Streaming live or recorded lessons for students
  • Copying from the Internet (provided you cite your sources)

Copying Don'ts

  • Making a large-print book for students with a perceptual disability without permission from the copyright owners
  • Showing copyright-protected material for profit without permission or paying for it
  • Showing copyright-protected material to people other than primarily the students at your school
  • Copying or printing musical scores without the copyright owner's permission
  • Performing copyright-protected material off of school property
  • Copying an audiovisual work at home and showing it in the classroom
  • Copying computer software for education use (there are only two situations that this is permitted)
  • Breaking digital locks to use copyright-protected materials that you have the legal right to use
  • Using student work as an exemplar, as part of a teaching workshop, in a Web posting or in a school publication without permission of the student and/or their legal guardian

Need More Information on Copyright?

If you are looking for more information on copyright, please visit the links provided below!

Works Cited

Copyright Matters: Some Key Questions & Answers For Teachers 3rd ed. (2012) Council of Ministers of Education, Canada, Canadian School Boards Association and Canadian Teachers’ Federation
http://cmec.ca/Publications/Lists/Publications/Attachments/291/Copyright_Matters.pdf