Copyright and Conference Presentations

Attending a Conference?

If you are planning to attend a conference, there are several things you may wish to consider in order to ensure that your presentation is copyright compliant.

Where does your conference take place? Is it taking place at Dalhousie, before an audience of mainly students and faculty members? In that case you can rely on Dalhousie’s Fair Dealing Guidelines in constructing slides or handouts. Similarly, you could rely on exemptions in the Copyright Act regarding the screening of audio-visual materials and sound recordings. See our “For Faculty” page for more information on these:

If your conference takes place outside of Dalhousie, or before the general public, you may not be able to use the educational exemption for Fair Dealing. However, the concept of Fair Dealing could still apply to these instances of copying, but a separate fair dealing analysis must be undertaken to ensure compliance with the Copyright Act. For assistance with this analysis, please email us at Of course, if Fair Dealing is not available, permission from the copyright owner can always be sought.

It is important to note that if you are invited to attend a conference in another country (i.e., the United States) and plan to incorporate copyrighted material into your presentation, you are bound by the laws of the country you are presenting in. For instance, in Canada material generally enters the public domain (copyright “expires”) 50 years after the death of the author, but in other countries the term is longer (70 years or more). So material you may use here without permission because it is in the public domain may still be copyrighted in other countries.

Also, you, as the presenter, own the copyright in any materials you create for your presentation, as well as in your presentation or lecture itself. You may wish to attach a Creative Commons notice to your slides, or a Copyright statement, in order to reinforce this ownership.

Organizing a conference? What do you need to think of?

If you are organizing a conference it is important to take a few considerations into account beforehand.

If you wish to broadcast or record and upload the conference presentations online, it is important to remember that the presenters own the copyright in their presentations (both their slides and their talks), and permission to do these activities should be sought. As well, if you plan to publish conference proceedings, it is equally important to obtain permission from the presenters (and if, as a presenter, you are asked to sign any such document, please refer to our page on retaining your copyright:

As well, it may be a good idea to remind presenters, especially those from other countries that if they use copyrighted material in their presentation it must be done in keeping with Canadian copyright law (either obtain permission, or make use of a specific exemption). A simple statement on the conference webpage, or as part of an email to presenters can help with this. Please contact the Copyright Office ( for help with or suggestions on drafting such statements.

The information on this page is presented for informational purposes only, and does not constitute legal advice. If you require legal advice about copyright, you should always consult an Intellectual Property lawyer.

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.