Internet Exception

Section 30.04 of the Copyright Act allows faculty to reproduce, save, download and distribute publicly available material from the Internet only if the following criteria are met:

  1. the content has been made available by the copyright holder
  2. the content is not password-protected (Ex: library subscriptions, members-only section)
  3. there is no clearly visible notice prohibiting educational use (Ex: the copyright symbol is not a visible notice)
  4. the source and author/creator is cited

Internet content that pass the four criteria include:

  • Publicly available articles from newspaper websites
  • Government documents
  • Publications from NGOs
  • Documents from regulatory bodies, agencies or professional associations

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Creative Commons

Start your search in Creative Commons portals where works have been posted by the copyright holder with the intention that others freely use them as long as the source is cited.


Public Domain

Works whose copyright term has expired, have been forfeited, or were created prior to the implementation of copyright law (circa 1790) are in the public domain. Any translation or republication of a work has its own copyright term.

The copyright term in each country is different. In Canada, copyright lasts for the life of the creator plus an additional 50 years. Faculty teaching in Canada abide by the Canadian copyright term regardless of where the work they want to use is published.

There are no restrictions in how public domain works can be copied, shared, or otherwise used. While there is no requirement to cite a public domain work, it is good professional practice to do so.

Public Domain Example

  • Title of work: Starry Night (1889)
  • Since Van Gogh has been dead since the 1800s then any image of Starry Night found on the Internet can be used.

Suggested Websites

Related Topics

Linking: you can link to web content that is legitimately posted. Ensure that a new window is opened to display the content - do not frame within Blackboard.

  • Although a hyperlink provides immediate access to material published on another website, this does not amount to republication or copying of the content on the originating site.

Choose from the list to find eResources specific to that type.