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Showing a YouTube Video in Class

Section 29.5(d) of the Copyright Act permits showing a YouTube video in class for educational purposes, provided that it is not an infringing copy. This means that the video has to have been posted by the content creator or the copyright owner.

In order to ensure that all use of YouTube videos is legal:

  • Make sure that the copyright owner posted the video
  • Ensure that the video does not contain copyrighted information from another source.
  • Stream the video directly from YouTube. Don't make a copy of it to bring to class.

How do I know if the copyright owner posted the video?

Here are some hints as to how you can tell whether the copy is legal. The video:

  • is posted on an official channel (e.g. CBS Television, Official Channel of “7 News”, etc.)
  • is posted on the page of an association or organization (e.g. National Cooperative Business Association, National Research Council Canada, etc.)
  • has a Creative Commons license (check under the video – sometimes it shows category, license, etc.) – some of these are specific enough that they say Creative Commons Attribution license (reuse allowed)
  • has been posted for more than a few months. Videos that are not legitimate or that violate copyright will normally be removed pretty quickly.
  • has been posted by the copyright owner. You can find out more about who posted the video by clicking on their handle. e.g. AtHomeWithNichole / AtHomeWithNikki – you can see by her page that she has created a number of videos and posted them on YouTube – so she is the copyright owner.)


Section 29.21 of the Copyright Act includes the user’s right to use copyright-protected works to create new works. The Act refers to this as “Non-commercial user-generated content,” but it is popularly referred to as mash-ups.

      There are some conditions that apply to non-commercial user-generated content:

  • it can only be used for non-commercial purposes
  • the original source must be mentioned
  • the original work must have been obtained legally (i.e. can’t circumvent a technological protection measure (TPM) or digital lock)
  • the resulting user-generated content does not adversely affect the market of the original work

The user-generated content can be distributed, such as posting a video on YouTube, or on a website.