Public Web Pages/Social Media Pages

Copyright and University of Manitoba Public Websites/Social Media Accounts

The Canadian Copyright Act has a notice-and-notice provision which allows copyright owners to take steps when their work has been infringed, and for website hosts to take action upon receiving a notice of alleged infringement. As a website host, the University of Manitoba is required by law to react if it receives such a notice. See Sections 41.25, 41.26, and 41.27 of the Copyright Act for details of the notice-and-notice provision.

What does this mean for the University’s public websites and its social media presence? If your unit’s public web pages and social media pages include other people's copyrighted content which is not covered by a provision of the Copyright Act or for which permission or a licence is needed, you may be required to obtain permission or to remove the content.

A University-hosted public website is any website that is located on a UM server. Examples of UM-hosted websites include: a faculty or departmental website, a faculty member’s professional web page that includes the UM server address in the URL, and a UM research institute’s website. This flowchart can help you review copyright compliance of materials as you develop web pages for the next generation of the UM's website.

University-hosted social media might include a departmental Instagram account, a faculty Facebook page, a unit’s Twitter account or a research institute’s YouTube channel. 

Personal websites such as your personal blog or list of publications on your professional website with your own domain name are your own and are not governed by University policies or guidelines.

Personal social media accounts include your own accounts on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, etc. where you are not representing the University of Manitoba. UM logos, symbols and marks cannot be used in personal websites or accounts. As well, content from UM Learn cannot automatically be used in personal websites or personal social media accounts. Note that many social media websites have terms of use stating that they own a licence to the material you post, often with the right to modify and commercialize that content. Consider the terms of use carefully when posting.

Before adding any content that is not your own (text, photos, images, video, etc.) to a UM-hosted website or to a UM social media account, ensure that its use is either covered by a provision of the Copyright Act or permission was obtained. If the use is not permitted, do not include it. Review material that was previously added to your unit's public web pages and social media pages for potential copyright issues. For all material posted, consider the following:

1. Is the content created by UM staff (other than UMFA members) or provided by the Marketing Communications Office? If so, no action is required.

2. Include a citation for any third-party material (even clipart). For content from the web, add the URL to the citation.

3. Is the content from the public domain (where the creator died at least 50 years ago)? If so, the material may be used freely.

4. Does the content have a Creative Commons licence? If so, you may use it but do not crop or otherwise modify the content unless the Creative Commons licence permits this. You must also follow the terms of the license, which will minimally require attribution to the creator and linking back to the licence the content is available under. See "How to give attribution" from Creative Commons for best practices.

5. Much of the content from Wikipedia and Wikimedia can be shared without permission. Click on images to view their copyright allowances. You must follow the copyright allowance terms when using Wikipedia or Wikimedia content.

6. Is the content from the web? If so, confirm that the website terms of use or a licence allows copying, or that a Copyright Act provision such as Fair Dealing applies. Note that Fair Dealing for educational purposes is limited and would not cover, for example, the inclusion of images on a website or on social media such as Instagram or Facebook simply to add interest to the page.

7. Is the textual content original (that is, not plagiarized)? If exact words from another source were copied, include quotation marks with the citation. Note that quoting a small amount of text with attribution does not require permission.

8. Don’t use logos, symbols or marks from other organizations without their permission.

9. If your use is not covered by the Copyright Act, nor terms of use or a licence, obtain permission, remove the content, or use a link instead.

10. When permission is required, contact the author, photographer, composer, videographer, publisher, employer of the person who created the material, or the creator of the work.

11. If written permission was obtained for the content, include a "Used with permission" statement with the citation. Retain permission emails and licences for your files.

12. Before uploading a previously-published article (even one authored by a UM faculty member or staff) to a UM-hosted web page, confirm that the publishing agreement allows it. If it doesn’t, obtain permission from the publisher to use it, or provide a citation without the full text of the article.

13. Linking and retweeting are not copyright issues. Providing a link to a video posted to YouTube or elsewhere is acceptable unless the video is obviously posted illegally. Look for content from official accounts and websites. Take a common sense approach: a BBC video posted by user "PirateVideos99" is probably not an authorized copy.

Please contact the Copyright Office at um.copyright@umanitoba.ca if you

1. Require help in determining what is allowed.
2. Require help in obtaining copyright permission.
3. Receive a notice of infringement regarding content on your UM-hosted web pages or UM-hosted social media pages.

For general information about using social media at the University of Manitoba, see the Marketing Communications Office website

For information about privacy and confidential issues regarding social media, see the Access and Privacy Office’s guidelines.