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Copyright Awareness for Teaching, Learning and Research

Copying for Internal Course Readings


If you are providing course-related materials either from NUS collection or from other sources of copyrighted readings for dissemination to your students, you are making multiple copies. In this situation, you are, by law, required to abide by the legal requirements under the Copyright Act 2021 which Canvas Course Readings would facilitate.

Note: This page does not apply to public-facing courses like MOOCs. For copyright considerations relating to MOOCs, please refer to the guide for Copyright in MOOCs.

Disclaimer: The content in the following FAQs is meant for general informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for legal counsel and does not constitute legal advice.

Copyright FAQ for Course Readings

FAQs on this page

Q. How much of a book / journal am I allowed to copy in Canvas Course Readings?

It depends on the format of the material you are uploading: 

  • books. 1 chapter or 10% of the total number of pages 
  • electronic materials. where the work is stored on an electronic medium and not divided into pages, 10% of the total number of bytes or 10% of the total number of words  
  • journal issues. 1 article from each journal issue is considered a reasonable portion under the Copyright Act 2021

Q. Can the author give me permission to make available more than 10% or one chapter of a book on Canvas?

Only the owner of the copyright in the book may give permission. 

The author is not necessarily the owner of copyright in a published book because:-

  • the author might have assigned or exclusively licensed the copyright in the work to the publisher and would not be able to give permission;
  • the publisher and not the author may have the right to make a reproduction of a published edition. 

Please obtain permission from the correct party when seeking to upload more than 10% or one chapter of a published work. One possible way to identify the copyright owner is to look for the © print e.g. “© Jane Doe 2019”

Note: This FAQ applies primarily to print books. For e-books, you can just place a hyperlink, as with all other NUS Libraries e-Resources. Quantity made available is subject to the e-book database restrictions. 

Q. Why should I make available my course readings on Canvas Course Readings instead of other platforms?

You are by law required to abide by the legal requirements under the Copyright Act 2021.

When you make available your course readings on Canvas Course Readings, the library will assist you in:-

  • checking copyright compliance;
  • adding copyright notices; and
  • ensuring records are kept as legally required by section 198 of the Copyright Act 2021

You may only upload digital copies of readings or videos yourself if you are the copyright owner of the materials, or have explicit permission from the copyright holder to copy.

Q. I am a lecturer. What resources can I place in Canvas Course Readings?

Resources that can be placed in Canvas Course Readings:-

  • links to e-versions of readings available on an NUS Libraries subscribed database - we will make a direct link to your readings on the Canvas Course Readings page
  • print readings from physical books - scanned chapter / article will be placed on Canvas Course Readings. Print copies of the book can also be transferred to RBR upon request. If the book is not in NUS Libraries collection and you wish for the whole book to be purchased, please make a separate request for the book using this form.
  • hyperlinks to videos/music from library subscribed databases (i.e. Digital Theatre Plus Database) or from legal to use resources free from copyright restrictions
  • physical VHS or DVD films may only be streamed with written permission from the copyright owner. Please approach the NUS Libraries Canvas Course Readings teams for further assistance on this matter at

Resources that will not be placed in Canvas Course Readings:-

  • materials where the publisher explicitly prohibits linking. For example:-

    • Harvard Business Cases from Harvard Business Review (“HBR”)
    • Richard Ivey cases, and/or
    • Stanford cases     

If the format of material you are hoping to upload does not fall under the above categories (e.g. map, legal case, news article), please contact

Please check with the library for any updates to this list.

Q. Can a video from NUS Libraries Media Collection be screened in class for a course?

Offline Screening 

Under the Copyright Act 2021, students and staff of NUS are allowed to screen the video from NUS Libraries media collection in class as part of a lecture or assignment as long as:-

  • The showing of the work is undertaken by a teaching staff or student in the course of activities of NUS for the purpose of instruction.
  • The audience must be limited to the teaching staff and students of the institution and others who are directly connected to the activities of the institution.

Online Screening from Canvas

Note: The above applies to offline screening of videos. For videos to be streamed from Canvas, permission from the copyright owner is required (e.g. a streaming license should be obtained) or, if available, a hyperlink to a version free from copyright restrictions will be provided. For more information, please contact the NUS Libraries Canvas Course Readings Team at


Lecturers can screen-share the films during class using Zoom under the following conditions:

  1. Disable all download and recording functions during the film screening.
  2. Screen the film via Zoom during the screening time slot, ONLY for registered students in the course. 
  3. Remind students that no recording of the film is allowed for copyright reasons.  

Q. I am a lecturer. Can a document I obtained through the Document Delivery Service (DDS) be placed in Canvas Course Readings?

Documents (book chapters, articles, etc.) obtained through DDS cannot be placed in Canvas Course Readings by law as they are obtained for the specific purpose of personal research and study and not for making multiple copies of readings for students and staff.  

Staff who request DDS materials are required to make a declaration that they will "only use the document(s) for non-commercial/research purposes or private study and will not supply a copy of the document(s) to any other person" (Copyright Act 2021)

Q. I am a lecturer. Can I replace an existing book chapter in Canvas Course Readings with another chapter within a semester for the same course?

No. Sequential or serial copying and communication of chapters from a single book for the same course is not permitted.

If you require more than one chapter of a book for your course, you have two options: 

  • obtain explicit permission from the copyright owner (likely the publisher) to upload more than one chapter
  • the library can assist you with ordering and with placing copies of the book in the Reserve Books and Readings (RBR) for students to borrow and view short term. Request to Place Library Materials in RBR here.

Q. How long will the readings remain in Canvas Course Readings? 

In compliance with copyright requirements, the readings will be kept for one semester.

If the same readings are required for the next semester, a new form needs to be submitted for each particular reading.

Q. Why must I make a Copyright Declaration to publish scanned readings in Canvas? 

Section 198 of the Copyright Act 2021 has a special exception allowing NUS to communicate multiple copies of reasonable portions of articles or book chapters to students.

There are a number of conditions that NUS must meet. One of the conditions is NUS must pay equitable remuneration to the rights owner if the rights owner makes a written request within the prescribed time after the copy or communication is made.

For Canvas users: The Copyright Declaration is built into the Canvas Course Readings request form when a request is submitted, so there is no need to make a separate declaration.

Q. May I upload 10% of a book to one course and another 10% of a book to a different course in the same semester?

Yes. The 10% or 1 chapter restriction applies per course.

Note: This FAQ is under review.