Using Freely Available Web Content

Many uses of works from the Internet for teaching may be covered by the fair dealing provision of the Copyright Act. An implied licence may also apply to freely available Internet content, particularly when a site provides tools for copying, sharing and embedding content. 

Internet Exception

The Copyright Act Internet exception provides additional support by allowing for the educational use of freely available web content. You can provide copies of qualifying internet content as handouts, posts to Blackboard or eReserves and include them in printed coursepacks. “Freely available” means there is no restriction on access to the content such as a pay wall, password protection or other technical protection measures. A condition of this exception is that the content must have been posted by or with the consent of the copyright owner and there is no notice that disallows educational use. Content posted that is insubstantial or qualifies as fair dealing does not require the exception to be used. Some uses may also be covered under the non-commercial user-generated content provision. See the Exceptions page in the Copyright Basics section for more information on these exceptions. 


Providing a link to a website remains the simplest way to avoid copyright issues. While it is not illegal, you should not provide your class with a link to an entire copyrighted work or a large portion of a work you know has been posted illegally. Some illegal posts look very legitimate. If unsure, contact the Copyright Office for advice.