Brightspace for Faculty

Best practices for Brightspace use

Brightspace allows faculty and staff to provide easy access to class material and other resources, but there are some important restrictions on what can be uploaded to Brightspace, and how this material is presented.

Dalhousie University considers its learning management systems (LMS) Brightspace to be an extension of the classroom. Brightspace is available via secure access to currently enrolled students. Course pages are available while a course is being taught and are deactivated once an appropriate period has passed after the course has ended. The following copyright guidelines apply to a learning management system designed to restrict access in this way. Please exercise caution if you are adding content to course-related websites for which access is unrestricted. Copyright regulations must be observed in all cases where copyright protected material is being used.

Copyright Compliance and Brightspace

When you first sign-in to Brightspace, you will be asked if your course materials are copyright-compliant. Copyright compliance is detailed in the Fair Dealing Guidelines, providing guidance on what you can and cannot upload to Brightspace.

Material may be posted to Brightspace when:

  • The materials being uploaded to Brightspace fall within the University's Fair Dealing Guidelines.
  • You, as the instructor own the copyright in the material(s). NOTE: Authors of academic papers are often required to transfer copyright to publishers, and therefore retain no rights in the work. In this case, permission to post a digital copy must be obtained from the publisher.
  • The University has a license in place that permits posting to Brightspace.  Check status of licensing by publisher/title.
  • In the case of digital supplements provided by a publisher (ePacks, course packs, course cartridges) with a textbook and the license permits posting to Brightspace, or permission has been obtained from the publisher.
  • If material is obtained under a Creative Commons license or from Open Access sources. 
  • Material is in the public domain. NOTE: Material typically enters the Public Domain 50 years following the death of the author(s).
  • You have permission from the copyright holder of the material in question. The Copyright Office can obtain these permissions on your behalf, contact us at for more information.

Access to audio/video recordings that are in the public domain, licensed accordingly, or which represent fair dealing, should be provided using a streaming service rather than as a file uploaded to Brightspace. For more information on Public Domain, please consult the Determining Public Domain section of our website.

Providing a link is always preferable to uploading an item into Brightspace, especially in cases where doubts exist regarding the item's copyright status. Published material that is not covered by fair dealing, a suitable license, not public domain, and not available through a Creative Commons or Open Source provider, should not be uploaded. 

Copies of published worksheets or other materials intended as “consumables” by students (e.g. workbooks), or any copyrighted book or video in its entirety, should not be posted on Brightspace without obtaining appropriate permissions.


  • Instructors who use materials in a course, once or consecutively or separated by intervening semesters, should obtain permission from copyright holders each time the material is going to be used, where such permission is necessary.

For more information on Brightspace and copyright compliance, please refer to our video tutorial on Copyright Compliance in Brightspace.

Using stable links in Brightspace

Stable links, or permalinks, are URL links that allow a direct and stable connection to resources that the library subscribes to. Use of these links is important for three reasons:

  1. Authentication: Proving a stable link ensures users are directed to page where they can login and authenticate themselves as Dalhousie users.
  2. Reporting: Stable links facilitate resource management, by providing data on how often library resources are accessed or downloaded. This data can then be used for decision-making as part of the Dalhousie Libraries' subscription budget
  3. Licensing: Libraries have different licenses with various vendors. Some of these vendors do not allow their material to be used in e-reserves or coursepacks, but most do allow linking to their material. Appropriately linking to material, through the use of stable links, allows the libraries and its users to abide by the terms of the licenses.

For more information on Stable Links and why they are recommended, please refer to our Video Tutorial for Stable Links:

Course reserves and Brightspace

The best way to ensure copyright compliance on Brightspace is to submit a course reading list to Course Reserves. Course reserves will create stable links for use on Brightspace, or place materials on traditional reserve in one of the five Dalhousie libraries, to facilitate ease of use by students. Faculty will be notified if material requires a traditional reserve, or if additional copyright clearance will be used. If the required material is in excess of Fair Dealing limitations, we can also seek the necessary permissions to have this material included on Brightspace. However, we would encourage faculty and staff to design course material within the limits of Fair Dealing, as special permissions are not guaranteed and the permission-seeking process can be quite lengthy. Please visit the Course Reserves Website for more details.

Communicating Lessons by Telecommunication

The Copyright Act now allows for the use of copyright protected content under the educational exceptions in the Act to apply to situations and interactions that extend beyond the premises of the institution to include online and virtual classrooms.

Use of this provision should only be considered when a claim of fair dealing cannot be made with respect to Dalhousie's Fair Dealing Guidelines. Before choosing to take advantage of this particular provision identified in the Act as 'Communicating Lessons by Telecommunication' you should conduct a fair dealing analysis to ensure that your use of the material does not qualify under Dalhousie's Fair Dealing Guidelines.

There are a number of conditions that must be met under this provision, should you choose to invoke it:

  • The lesson must be destroyed by the institution 30 days after the final course evaluation (this means it cannot simply be made inaccessible somehow).
  • Students must destroy any copies of the lesson they have made in that same 30 day window after the final course evaluation.
  • In order to help limit access and communication of the lesson to students in the course, technological protection measures must be employed.
  • Any technological protection measure that exists in a work that you wish to use under this provision, cannot be be broken in order for you to gain access to the content.  For example, breaking a 'digital lock' for the purpose of gaining access and extracting digital date in an attempt to create a streaming copy or a clip of an audio or video work.
  • The content must be made available in the form of a lesson.  For example, a document prepared as a lesson posted to Brightspace or Blackboard.

For more information on Brightspace and Copyright Compliance, please refer to the Brightspace for Faculty section of our website.

Questions or comments?

We'd be happy to help out. Please send us your copyright questions and comments.

Dalhousie Libraries Copyright Office website is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.