Add Usage Rights and Publish Uploaded Files

Instructors are prompted to set usage rights when uploading a new file. Instructors can bulk upload files and bulk set usage rights. Until usage rights are set, students are unable to view the files.

Add usage rights and publish files

When uploading files to Canvas Files, files will be unpublished (unpublished symbol.png) by default and students cannot access them. To publish files, add a usage right designation one-by-one or in bulk.

    1. Single file: Click the exclamation pointrequires usage rights designation symbolicon 
    2. Multiple files: On your keyboard, select Command (Mac) or control (PC) and click on the white space within the row of the files you want to bulk manage (don't click on the file name as that will open up a preview of the file).
    3. All files: To select all files and folders, hold down the Command (Mac) or control (PC) key on your keyboard and select the A key.
      • A toolbar will appear at the top of the page. Click the copyright buttoncopyright icon. (NOTE: you may see a yellow alert “Items selected have different usage rights”. You can ignore this.)
        Files toolbar of options
  1. Choose a usage rights option. Usage rights are visible to students and is an indication as to what needs to stay private to the class or can be shared freely.
  2. Add a copyright holder or Creative Commons license: Citations are not required by Canvas, but may be required by the rights holder as part of your license. If you are using material with a Creative Commons license, you will need to specify which type.
  3. Publish when you are ready: You can publish your file while tagging usage rights by selecting the Publish (Publish icon) radio button.
    • Bulk publish by selecting all (control or command + A), select the Manage Access button (Manage Access icon), and select Publish.

Five Usage Rights

  • I hold the copyright: You created the work being shared in whole or components of your work clearly fall under one of the four categories below.
  • I have obtained permission to use this file: Learn more about the permissions process for others' work you’d like to share.
  • The material is under public domain: Publicly posted material is usually still copyrighted, so review what is considered in the public domain.
  • The material is subject to an exception- e.g. fair use, the right to quote, or others under applicable copyright laws: Please read more about fair use below, as it is more limited for electronic distribution of files than it is in a face-to-face setting. 
  • The material is licensed under Creative Commons: If the work you want to use was shared under a Creative Commons license, you don’t have to contact the owner or pay a royalty as long as you follow their instructions as to how their work can be reused.

Doesn’t fair use cover all materials I upload to my Canvas site?

No, educational use, password protection, limitation to enrolled students, and citation do not alone guarantee that uploading material to Canvas would be considered fair.

To learn more about what is expected of you, visit the Stanford Copyright Guidance, which includes common copyright situations, the most relevant being online course readers, and an explanation of the principle of fair use. In general, it’s worth exploring other options rather than relying on fair use.

What do I do if I can’t rely on fair use?

  • Link to material on the web or in the libraries: Find your resource on the public web, search the Stanford Library’s holdings to find a resource, then use Pages or Assignments to add a link in Canvas.
  • Put material on reserve in the library, including e-reserves of films, journal articles, and texts. Beginning in Fall 2020, instructors with library reserves will have Course Reserves appear automatically in Canvas course navigation menu.
  • License the material:
    • Make a printed course reader that can be purchased through the bookstore.
    • Ask the creator for permission to use the work.
  • Replace the material with Creative Commons or public domain work.
  • Use it in class but don’t post it: Most copyrighted material is okay to use in the classroom.
  • If all else fails, you may post “entire non-dramatic works and reasonable and limited portions of any other audiovisual work without obtaining permission” online within Canvas if you do so in a way that complies with the requirements of the TEACH Act. We recommend that course videos are shared in Panopto Course Videos because it has a better upload experience, unlimited quota, and will automatically expire videos at the end of the term. Note: Graduate School of Business and School of Medicine have their own video hosting solutions.