When using audio or visual materials that you did not create, it is important to make sure that you are using them legally. The information provided on this page and through links will help you to learn about copyright and fair dealing.
Copyright is the exclusive legal right, given to an originator or an assignee to print, publish, perform, film, or record literary, artistic, or musical material, and to authorize others to do the same. In order to reproduce something that is protected by copyright, one must get permission from the copyright holder.
In Canada, the Fair Dealing clause in the Copyright Act lets you use copyrighted works without permission from the owner of the copyright, but only in a very limited number of ways. Some educational uses are covered by fair dealing.
Creative Commons (CC) is a non-profit organization devoted to expanding the range of creative works available for others to build upon legally and to share. The organization has released several copyright-licenses known as Creative Commons licenses free of charge to the public.
For a full description of CC licenses and the various restrictive uses and symbols see
Works that are not protected by copyright are said to be in the Public Domain, and you are free to use them in any way you choose. That means no restrictions on copying and adapting, no need to seek permission, and no uncertainty about your rights as a user. There is also no legal requirement to attribute works in the Public Domain to their creators, but it is good etiquette in doing so and part of ensuring academic integrity. A work enters the Public Domain when its copyright expires.
Just like when you cite your sources when writing a paper, it is a best practice to cite, or give attribution, when using audio or visual materials.
Even if the material is freely available in the public domain, you should give attribution by naming the creator and the title, and providing a link to the original content when you can.
Check out these resources to find resources for your assignment:
For more information about using audio and visual materials, check out these resources:
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