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Guide to Canadian Copyright and ECU policies on Copyright

Digital Images

Digital Images for teaching and research are available from licensed digital image collections and from freely available digital collections online.

  • Scanning or downloading an image and projecting it onto a screen in class is allowed under the exceptions for educational institutions in the Copyright Act.
  • The Library also has licenced image databases that you can use for teaching or presenting in class.
  • Remember to credit the artist and/or cite the source of the image on your slides.

Educational Uses

The Educational Exceptions in the Copyright Act allow for:

  1. Temporary display of copyrighted images in the classroom for instructional purposes as long as the source and creator (or copyright holder) is credited. However, this exception is only available for manual reproduction of images, and for works that are not commercially available on the Canadian market within a reasonable time and for a reasonable price, in a medium appropriate for education or training purposes.
  2. Use of images for assessment purposes, such as an assignment, test, or exam, as long as there isn't an acceptable commercial alternative in an appropriate format for testing.
  3. Use of images from public websites for classroom presentations, or for posting into an Emily Carr University secure learning management system (for educational or training purposes), as long as you satisfy the following three criteria:
    • You do not break or circumvent a digital lock to access or obtain a copy of the work;
    • There is no clear and visible notice on the website or on the work itself that prohibits the use or reproduction of the work (more than just a copyright symbol);
    • The website is not questionable, infringing or clearly using the works without the copyright owner’s consent; and
    • You identify the source of the work and, if available and applicable, the author, performer, maker or broadcaster of the work.

Please note that these exceptions may not apply to images taken from Emily Carr University Library’s licensed electronic resources, including e-journals and e-books. To view the permitted uses for images and other content from licensed e-resources, please visit the Library’s A-Z Database page and click on Permitted Uses for This Database.

It is also important to remember that the Fair Dealing Requirements and Emily Carr University’s digital licences generally do not permit you to upload to a website, or create links on a website, that is not part of Emily Carr University’s secure network, and that is open to the world at large.

Finally, when using images, it is always good practice to cite the image owner/creator and the image source both for copyright and academic integrity reasons. When looking for images online, always assume images are copyrighted unless there is evidence to the contrary.

This information has been adapted from the UBC Copyright Guide on Image Sources under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Using Images

Using images in your work differs from using textual resources. Very rarely do you want to use a portion of the image, the way you do when using quotations from text. More commonly you want to use the whole image, which is considered copying the whole work. This usage requires permission from the copyright holder; however, there are a few exceptions in the Canadian Copyright Act which allow the use of materials without first obtaining permission.

Fair Dealing

The Fair Dealing exception in the Copyright Act allows copying for the purposes of research, private study, education, satire, parody, criticism, review, or news reporting. The user must give the source of the work and, if provided in the source, the author, performer, maker or broadcaster. Copies made under Fair Dealing generally cannot be transmitted or distributed to another person, unless unless you are a UBC instructor distributing materials to your students in accordance with the Fair Dealing Guidelines set out for Emily Carr University Faculty and Staff.

This information has been adapted from the UBC Copyright Guide on Image Sources under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.



Images from ARTstor can be used for classroom instruction and related classroom activities, student assignments and research, research activities of faculty, public display or public performance as part of a noncommercial scholarly or education presentation, in research and dissertations. Uses of images not permitted by ARTstor include: commercial - such as scholarly publications available for purchase, public performances, as well as adaptation of images for derivative works. 

Frequently Asked Questions - Images

Can I scan an item and project it onto a screen in class, including copyrighted material such as images?
Yes, this is allowed under the exceptions for educational institutions in the Copyright Act:

Reproduction for instruction
29.4 (1) It is not an infringement of copyright for an educational institution or a person acting under its authority to:
(a) make a manual reproduction of a work onto a dry-erase board, flip chart or other similar surface intended for displaying handwritten material, or
(b) to make a copy of a work to be used to project an image of that copy using an overhead projector or similar device for the purposes of education or training on the premises of an educational institution.       604-844-3840        520 East 1st Avenue, Vancouver, BC