Faculty Services

1. Copyright and Course Readings    2. Course Reserves    3. Information Literacy Instruction


Here is a quick summary of the copyright situation for U of T instructors following the expiration of U of T's agreement with Access Copyright on Dec. 31, 2013. This is my best (non-expert) attempt to summarize the situation, and it inevitably leaves out some important nuances and details; so please be sure to consult the detailed and expert Copyright Resources provided by the Scholarly Communications & Copyright Office (U of T Libraries), which include an FAQ, Fair Dealing Guidelines, and a Copyright Roadmap.
-- Margaret Fulford, University College Librarian

  • You can assign material without limit from the vast U of T Libraries (UTL) collection of licensed e-journals and e-books, including an entire e-book or multiple articles from the same issue of an e-journal. UTL has already purchased or paid licensing fees (to publishers or their vendors) to make these e-resources available to students and faculty via the U of T Libraries web site using their UTORid and password.  (If you use BlackBoard, best practice is to link to each e-resource; you can add links yourself or just send your syllabus to the Course Reserves & Syllabus Service, where library staff will do so for you.)
  • Under fair dealing, you can scan a "short excerpt" from an in-copyright work to upload into your password-protected course site (e.g. BlackBoard/Portal), or photocopy a short excerpt to hand out in class, or to include in a course pack, as long as you credit the source & author. (If you're creating a course pack, be sure to use a licensed copy shop or the U of T Bookstore.)  U of T's Fair Dealing Guidelines note that the meaning of "short excerpt" may vary "depending on the exact nature of the work being used, and of the use itself, all in the context of consideration and application of the fair dealing factors." But in general "short excerpt" may mean:

    • 10% of a literary work, sound recording, audiovisual work, or musical score (the 10% can come from more than one chapter)
    •  one chapter of a book (even if that chapter comprises over 10% of the book) 
    • a single article from a periodical (but not 2 articles from the same issue of a journal)
    • one entire newspaper article, OR one entire page of a newspaper
    • a single artistic work -- such as  a painting, photo, diagram, map, or chart -- from a work containing other artistic works (e.g., 1 reproduction from an art book)
    • an entire entry from an encyclopedia, dictionary, or similar reference work
    • an entire poem from a work containing other poems
  • For publications in the public domain, you can of course upload a scan of the entire publication into BlackBoard (or photocopy it to hand out to your class). A publication is in the public domain if the author died at least 50 years ago (remember that "author" also includes translators, editors, illustrators, etc. -- so a modern translation of Tolstoy or a modern edition of Shakespeare is NOT in the public domain, even though the original author is long dead, unless the translator / editor / etc. also died at least 50 years ago).
  • For free or open-access web sites, you can include a link from your Blackboard course site (but be careful NOT to link to any site which you suspect of copyright infringement).

Please note that for books, fair dealing allows 10% OR one chapter, whichever is greater.  For example:

  • Let's say a particular book has 244 pages, and you scan pages 50-58 and 180-194 and upload them into BlackBoard; this would be allowed under fair dealing, since 9 + 15 = 24 pages = 10% of the book.  But fair dealing would NOT allow you to include even one additional page beyond this.
  • Again using the example of a 244-page book, let's say Chapter 3 starts on page 70 and ends on page 110. You can scan Chapter 3 into BlackBoard (or photocopy it to hand out); its 41 pages comprise more than 10% of the book (41/244 = .168 = about 17%), but that's okay because it's a single chapter.
  • But of course, you can NOT do both of the above with the same book! -- it's 10% OR one chapter.

The limits to fair dealing apply to your course as a whole.  For instance, if you put Chapter 3 of a book in BlackBoard, then later in the semester you might be tempted to think, "Hmmm, perhaps if I remove Chapter 3 from BlackBoard now... then can I put Chapter 6 of the same book in BlackBoard?" -- but the answer is a resounding NO,  this would NOT be fair dealing. If you want your students to read more than one chapter or 10% of an in-copyright printed book, then you need to look to the other options listed below (such as having the students buy the book and/or having the Library place the book in Course Reserves with a 3-hour loan period).

What has changed with the expiration of our Access Copyright agreement?

  • U of T is operating without an Access Copyright license as of Jan. 1 2014 and is no longer indemnified against litigation for copyright violation. The U of T community needs to be very diligent about compliance with copyright law.
  • Under our previous agreement with Access Copyright, you could scan into BlackBoard (or hand out to your class) 20% of a literary work; as of Jan. 1 2014 you can only include 10% (allowed under fair dealing).
  • Under the previous agreement, you could scan into BlackBoard an entire play; as of Jan. 1 2014, you can only scan 10% of a play. However, if a book is a collection of plays, then in some cases fair dealing would allow you to scan into BlackBoard a single play from within that collection -- this is somewhat similar to scanning a chapter from a book. BUT this is not always the case: For instance, if the play is also available for purchase in a stand-alone edition, and you would normally have had your students purchase that play, then scanning it from the play collection would not be considered fair dealing (since the "effect of the dealing" would be to deprive the copyright holder of sales they would normally have had). Or, to give another example, scanning two plays by the same author from two different collections would not be considered fair dealing.

When in doubt, please contact the Copyright Help service (copyright@library.utoronto.ca) or the Scholarly Communications and Copyright Librarian, Bobby Glushko (bobby.glushko@utoronto.ca).

What other options are there?

If you want to assign a larger portion of an in-copyright work than you are allowed to scan/copy/upload to BlackBoard, some other options are:

  • Have your students purchase the book (contact the U of T Bookstore).
  • Have the UC Library place the book in Course Reserves with a 3-hour loan period. Depending on the size of the class, you may wish to ask us to purchase an additional copy or two; for a large class, Course Reserves alone is not a viable solution. (Course Reserves services are also available at Robarts and many other U of T libraries.)
  • Ask the Copyright Help service (copyright@library.utoronto.ca) if they can obtain permission from the copyright holder of the specific work in question.


Instructors are welcome to place books in Course Reserves at the UC Library; if the Library doesn't already own the book, we will be glad to purchase it for the Library collection. 

Just contact the UC Librarian! (Margaret Fulford, 416-978-4634, margaret.fulford@utoronto.ca).

The information we need from you is:

  • title, author, and year of book(s)
  • course code and course title (complete official version please)
  • instructor's name and e-mail address
  • approximate number of students
  • loan period -- your choices are:

    • 3 hours (this is the most common choice)
    • 2 days
    • 5 days

The sooner you get your request in the better, because it can take some time for us to fill your request if we don't yet own the book, or if our copy is currently out on loan.

Mostly we provide Course Reserves for UC courses or UC faculty, but we are glad to consider requests for other courses too.

(Course Reserves services are also available at Robarts and many other U of T libraries.)


The UC Librarian would be glad to come to your class to do a library research / information literacy session for your students. The length of the session is up to you and can range from just a quick 15-minute introduction to U of T library resources and services, to a 2-hour session introducing students to things like:

  • recognizing scholarly resources; the characteristics of scholarly journals vs. popular magazines
  • how to find relevant books and articles on a topic
  • understanding bibliographic references
  • citing sources
  • key databases and research tools for a particular discipline
  • evaluating the quality of websites and other resources
  • the difference between primary and secondary sources

-- Margaret Fulford, UC Librarian (416-978-4634, margaret.fulford@utoronto.ca)