Copyright Course

copyright course

This course is free to ERAC members
To access the course, login or create an account here

Do you know if you are breaking copyright laws at your school? This course will help you make sure you're not!

copyright for educatorsCopyright Essentials for Educators was developed by ERAC with support from Open School BC. The course clarifies what BC schools are legally allowed to do under the Canadian Copyright Act and specially negotiated agreements with copyright holders. One of the 7 modules of the course covers copyright issues related to the use of online databases and other digital resources for which ERAC has negotiated agreements for K-12 schools in BC.

ERAC created the course by working with an advisory group comprised of regional BC educators. Nine additional school district staff joined with the advisory group to form the pilot committee which reviewed each section of the course and provided feedback on its content and usability. The course has been reviewed by a copyright lawyer with the BC Government and is based on the latest legislation.


Who should take this course?

It will be useful for ERAC member contacts, district administrators, school principals and vice-principals, teacher-librarians and teachers wanting to know what BC schools are legally allowed to do under the Canadian Copyright Act, or specially negotiated agreements with copyright holders and what they are not allowed to do.

After completing the Copyright Education course, you will be able to:

  • Define copyright and explain who owns it, what it protects and for how long.
  • Define moral rights and explain: who owns moral rights, what these rights protect and for how long, and how and when those rights can be waived.
  • Define infringement and explain: how copyright and moral rights can be infringed, and what the penalties are for that infringement.
  • Define fair dealing and explain how and when fair dealing occurs.
  • Identify the educational exceptions under the Canadian Copyright Act.
  • Explain where to access/how legally to use a range of copyrighted material, including material available under licence agreements negotiated (or being negotiated) by schools, school districts and/or ERAC that allow schools to:
    • play music-live or recorded- outside of class-time
    • show educational videos and feature films, and
    • access educational databases, such as EBSCO, World Book and Encyclopedia of British Columbia, and use the information for various educational purposes.

Sample Case Study: Copycat At Work

A famous B.C. artist has donated a painting from her collection to Feline High for display in the cafeteria.


  • photographed the painting
  • made copies of the photograph for students and their parents
  • stored a digital image of the painting on his home computer
  • had a graphic designer modify the image to use on the school's stationery

Vera Keen says Copycat infringed the artist's copyright-and possibly her moral rights-unless the artist specifically gave the school permission to reproduce her work. Copycat says permission doesn't matter: the painting was a gift to the school so the school must now automatically hold the copyright.

Who's right?
a. Vera     b. Copycat

Course Sections

Each course section of this professionally designed course begins with a relevant case study and ends with a self-assessment to ensure that you have understood the salient aspects of each section.


  • Self paced 2 -4 hr online course
  • Teaches BC educators the basics of Canadian Copyright law
  • Covers the k-12 use of print, video, audio, and digital resources
  • Addresses ERAC negotiated resource agreements
  • Contains 8 modules, section quizzes and final quiz
  • Interactive, entertaining multimedia


  • Requires a modern computer with sound, Internet connection and Flasher Player (Free to download here)
  • Recommended screen resolution of 1024 x768 and 16 bit colour quality. Go to your computer display settings. (Windows - go to Control Panel and click on Display. Mac - go to System Preferences.
  • Click here for complete system requirements.
Section includes:
• Why You Want To Take This Course
• What You Will Learn
• Course Structure
Section includes:
• Copyright Defined
• Who Owns Copyright
• What Copyright Protects
• What Copyright Does Not Protect
• How Long Copyright Lasts
• Copyright Basics
Section includes:
• Moral Rights Defined
• Sale or Transfer of Moral Rights
• What Moral Rights Protect
• A True Story About Moral Rights
• How Long Moral Rights Last
• Waiving Moral Rights
• School Employees & Moral Rights
Section includes:
• Infringement Defined
• Penalties For Infringement
• Copyright Infringement
• Moral Rights Infringement
• What Is Not Infringement
• Fair Dealing Defined
• Fair Dealing & Citations
• Fair Dealing vs. Infringement
• Why Canada Allows Fair Dealing
• Internet Copying
• Under Construction–Digital Rights
• When In Doubt
• Parallel Importation
Section includes:
• Copyright Act Exceptions
• For Educational Purposes
• For School Libraries
• Blanket Permission
Section includes:
• Other Licence Agreements
• Videos & DVDs
• Feature Films
• National Film Board
• Educational Videos
• Music Performance
• ERAC's SOCAN Agreement
• Software & Databases
• ERAC's Software Agreements
• ERAC's Online Database Bundle
• ERAC's Database Use Restrictions
Section includes:
• Our Suggestions
• Step One: Determine Specific Use
• Step Two: Check Agreements
• Step Three: Explore Other Options
• Step Four: Check Copyright Status
• Step Five: Obtain Permission
• Step Six: When All Else Fails
Section includes:
• Copyright Defined
Section includes:
• Copyright Defined