Works on the Internet are copyrighted. Fair dealing may apply to uses of these works for teaching, but it is often difficult to determine. An implied licence may also apply to freely available Internet content, particularly when a site provides tools for copying, sharing and embedding content.
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 for more information.
Providing a link to a website remains the simplest way to avoid copyright issues. You should not, however, link to content that has been posted illegally. Some illegal posts look very legitimate. If unsure, contact the Copyright Office for advice.
There are many instances where fair dealing will apply to uses of limited amounts of copyrighted works on publicly accessible websites. Course materials, however, should only be distributed using use Blackboard or eReserves. Posting course materials to a publicly accessible personal or class website would not likely qualify for fair dealing as it does not limit the distribution. Additionally, the Internet exception requires that material used under the provision be distributed primarily to students and staff of the university.