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Educational Use of Audio-Visual Works in the Classroom

Section 29.5(d) of the Copyright Act permits instructors to show feature films and documentaries in the classroom without the need for public performance rights, as long as the work is not an infringing copy or the person responsible for the showing has no reasonable grounds to believe it is an infringing copy.

Legitimate copies of audiovisual works could be

  • purchased or rented from a retail store
  • borrowed from a library or a friend
  • a YouTube video

Making a copy of an audiovisual work, including copying it to another format (e.g. VHS to DVD), without permission is an infringement of copyright in Canada. The resulting copy is not a legal copy. The only exception to this rule is that if you need to convert a work from one format to another in order to be able to play it, you are allowed to do so for your own personal use.

The Copyright Act and Music

Playing Radios and Sound Recordings on School Premises

Section 29.5(b) and 29.5(c) of the Copyright Act allow an educational institution to play music and other sound recordings in class with the following conditions:

  • the radio or sound recording must be played on the premises of an educational institution
  • it must be for educational or training purposes
  • it must not be for profit
  • it must take place before an audience consisting primarily of students of the educational institution, instructors acting under the authority of the educational institution, or any person who is directly responsible for setting curriculum

Educational Performances of Live and Recorded Music

Section 32.2(3) of the Copyright Act permits the public performance of live or recorded music in schools, when it is “in furtherance of an educational object”. No royalty payments are required.

Music that would be used to accompany a PowerPoint presentation to students or instructors would fall under this category.

Performances Requiring Permission

When live or recorded music is used by an educational institution for one of the following purposes, it must be authorized by the copyright owner or by a collective that represents the owner (e.g. SOCAN and Re:Sound) and payment is required:

  • at events such as a dance, fashion show or sporting event
  • at an event where the admission fee is intended to make a profit
  • on the premises of an educational institution for no purpose other than as background music (e.g. in the classroom, cafeteria, halls, or at events such as fairs, carnivals, multi-cultural events, etc.)

Recording Programs

Television News and Broadcasts

Copying television and radio broadcasts for public performance (e.g. in a classroom) without permission from the copyright holder infringes copyright. The Copyright Act provides some exceptions for educational institutions.

News and Commentary

Section 29.6 of the Copyright Act permits a person acting under the authority of an educational institution to make a single copy of a news broadcast or commentary at the time that it airs for the purpose of showing it to students in a classroom for educational or training purposes. Documentaries are not included in this category.

Broadcast

Section 29.7 of the Copyright Act allows a person acting under the authority of an educational institution to make a single copy of any type of television broadcast at the time that it airs and keep it for up to 30 days in order to preview it and decide whether or not to show it to an audience comprised primarily of students of the institution. If the copy is shown on the premises of the educational institution at any time, or if it is not erased after the 30 day period, a royalty payment must be made. The educational institution is required to keep a record of the making, erasing, and performing of the copy, as well as the method used to identify it.

At-The-Time Broadcasts

Section 29.5 of the Copyright Act permits an educational institution to play a television or radio broadcast on the premises of the institution at the time it is being aired, for an audience consisting primarily of students or instructors of the college, for educational or training purposes.