Performance in class

By “in class” is meant face to face lectures, tutorials, and other forms of face to face instruction, no matter where they are conducted.

One of the exclusive rights of the copyright owner of literary, dramatic or musical works is to perform the work in public. The corresponding right for owners of films is to cause the film to be seen or heard in public. For owners of sound recordings, it is to cause the recording to be heard in public. There is no corresponding right for artistic works or broadcast signals.

Just about every situation that is not private and domestic is considered to be in public. Fortunately for educational institutions, there is a provision in the Copyright Act in section 28 that deems performances in class in the course of educational instruction not to be in public, so long as the audience is limited to those taking part in the instruction.

This means that musical and other works can be performed live in class without permission of the copyright owner. It also means that sound recordings can be played in class without the permission of the copyright owner; and that films and videos can be screened in class without the permission of the copyright owner. This is despite what it might state on the packaging or the video about strictly for home use. The Copyright Act overrides statements like these.

This provision covers face to face teaching only. It does not apply to the online or virtual classroom.