Add Usage Rights and publish uploaded Files

Canvas users are prompted to add usage rights tags to the files they upload. Instructors can select and upload multiple files at once and Canvas has an efficient bulk process for tagging these files with appropriate usage rights. Students are unable to view1 files until instructors add usage rights tags.

How to add usage rights and publish your files

When uploading files to Canvas Files, files will be unpublished (Screen_Shot_2020-08-31_at_4.43.27_PM.png) by default and students cannot see them.

  • To publish files: Add a usage right designation either one-by-one or in bulk.
    • Single file: Click the exclamation pointScreen_Shot_2020-08-31_at_4.44.47_PM.pngicon 
    • Multiple files: Command or control-click multiple rows to select
      • If all items are in a nested folder and will share the same tag, click to the folder’s row.
      • Click the copyright buttonScreen_Shot_2020-08-31_at_4.45.38_PM.png that appears in the toolbar above. (NOTE: you will see a yellow alert “Items selected have different usage rights” but you can ignore this; it appears even if the selected items have the same usage rights and doesn’t prevent you from taking action.)
  • Choose one of usage rights options. 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.
  • 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.
  • Publish when you are ready: You can publish your file while tagging usage rights by selecting the Publish (Screen_Shot_2020-08-31_at_4.47.43_PM.png) radio button.
    • Bulk publish by selecting all (control or command-A) in directory, select the Manage Access button (Screen_Shot_2020-08-31_at_4.48.49_PM.png), and select Publish. You cannot publish the content of folders by selecting the folder; you will need to select the contents of the folder, not the folder itself.
  • You can upload and link new files directly to any page with a Rich Content Editor
    via the Files tab of the Content Selector. You will be prompted to add a usage right at the time of upload. 

Five Usage Rights

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 Reminder, 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?