Finding Your Way with Copyright in the Classroom

There are different ways to use works in the classroom while respecting copyright. Here are some ideas presented during the AQUOPS conference.

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There are different ways to use works in the classroom while respecting copyright. Here are some practical ideas presented at the recent AQUOPS conference.

During the AQUOPS conference, which took place from April 11 to 13, 2017, the last two days were filled with hands-on workshops, conferences, Exploracamp or sessions Pack me up. One of the conferences I attended was that of Ms. Geneviève Leblanc, from the Ministry of Education and Higher Education (MEES), which dealt with copyright.

The subject is particularly relevant since World Book and Copyright Day is being held on April 23! For more information, the website Book day presents the activities offered during this day, listed according to the different regions of Canada.


According to Ms. Leblanc's presentation, “copyright is a set of actions that are reserved exclusively for the right holder. »Thus, an author owns the rights to his work from the moment it is created. These include, among other things, the rights of reproduction, distribution, representation or translation. In addition to these economic rights, there are moral rights which make it possible, in particular, to protect the integrity of the work. So in order to be able to use, reproduce, modify, etc. a work, it is necessary to acquire the rights.

In a school context, in Quebec, the MEES benefits from 5 licenses. There are also " exceptions to copyright law in schools ". In certain cases, specific authorizations can be obtained for certain uses not covered by these licenses by contacting the management companies directly, for example Copibec, SODRAC or SOCAN.

In addition, the RÉCIT has created a guide to projection of literary works in class which is very interesting to consult. Did you know, for example, that the rules are not the same for projection on the interactive whiteboard than via a document camera?

Certain exceptions are provided for in the law, including that of thefair use. However, the analysis of the extracts to be reproduced using the six criteria of the Supreme Court of Canada is complex. Fortunately, the licenses held by schools avoid having to carry out such analyzes.


How to simplify your life?

There are different ways to get hold of works, be they literary, artistic, musical or multimedia, while respecting copyright. By following the tips below, it will be easier for you to respect copyright while making good use of your desired creations. For any questions on this subject, consult the MEES website or contact them directly by phone at 418-643-3534, ext. 2212, or by email.

Où trouver des ressources libres ou gratuites?

No rights reserved or Public domain

By using a work with the mention No rights reserved (copyleft), it is possible to use the work, to modify it, to distribute it without constraints. In addition, a work whose author has died 50 years ago enters the public domain and becomes copyright free in Canada. In the case of France and the United States, on the other hand, this period amounts to 70 years.


Creative Commons Licenses (CC)

These licenses are easily constructed according to the specific wishes of the authors. Custom license can be granted using website symbols Creative Commons. When using works under CC licenses, it is still a question of ensuring that the required constraints are understood:

  • BY: attribution obligatory or not (must the author's name be indicated?);
  • ND: right of modification or not;
  • NC: right of use for commercial purposes or not;
  • SA: sharing of the same nature (with the same license) or not.

Works on the Internet

It is important to ensure that works published on the Internet are copyright free or under a CC license. In order to do this, you must validate the conditions of use and legal notices of the site. In addition, to respect the rules of the art, it is important to mention any source used on the Internet either by the simple mention (URL address, name of the author and date) or the addition of hyperlink. By using the hyperlink of a work, it is easier to respect copyright.


Copibec online platform, SAMUEL allows you to create your own extracts from the works appearing on the platform. Also, the reproduction declaration is done automatically, which allows authors and publishers to receive royalties.

Complex, but accessible

Respect for copyright is complex. It is important to remember that it is thanks to it that authors and artists are able to make a living from their art. By demonstrating respect for the laws and rules related to copyright as a teacher, students will be made aware of this and will in turn be able to use the works in a responsible manner. This is a great way to allow young people to develop their citizenship! In addition, to educate young people about copyright, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) has created a comic book to download. There is even one animated version on YouTube!

Finally, see the Padlet document that Ms. Leblanc created as part of her conference. It is a very useful resource for recalling details or consulting documents for future reference.

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About the Author

Julie R.-Bordeleau
Former teacher and mother of a military family of 4 boys, Julie R-Bordeleau is an alternative learning guide and author. She loves discovering new educational and holistic resources and approaches that allow her clients to learn and develop in different ways, depending on their needs. Its website, its newsletter and its services are dedicated to adults who are changing the world in their own way, whether they are parents-educators, parents or professionals.

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