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Copyright Guides and Information:

Copyright is

Taken together, copyright, patent, and trademark laws protect and govern the use of intellectual property in Canada and many other countries. Copyright ensures that creators are recognized and compensated for their work, for without adequate payment and recognition, there would be less production, and therefore fewer works on which we, as educators, can draw. Copyright laws also provide for the rights of users, too, by seeking to define what constitutes fair dealing and by defining specific boundaries or exceptions for educators using copyright material.

The following is protected by copyright:

  • Original literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works, including sound recordings and audiovisual works such as videos, photographs and computer graphics, web sites, television and radio programs, books, magazines, and even e-mail messages.
  • Works must be in a fixed format, i.e., in print, recorded, saved in electronic formats.
  • Copyright is not technology or medium-specific, i.e., all works are protected, regardless of whether they appear in books, articles, on the Internet, on television, on a CD-ROM, etc.
  • There is no requirement for a work to be registered with the Canadian Intellectual Property Office or have a copyright symbol attached for it to be protected; as soon as it has been saved in a fixed format, it is automatically covered. Many people choose to register a work in their name nonetheless, just to confirm ownership.
  • Because Canada has signed certain international agreements on copyright, works which have been created in many other countries are also protected in this country, according to the requirements of Canadian law (not the law of the originating country).
The purpose of the guidelines is to translate some of the high level principles of fair dealing into practical rules applicable to the setting in a post-secondary institution. It outlines some of the activities that can be conducted under the fair dealing exception without infringing copyright.

No. The guidelines only address the making of paper or electronic copies.

Yes. However, the reverse is not true. If a copy can be made under the guidelines, but is prohibited under an agreement with the publisher that the user signed, the provisions of the agreement apply and making the copy is prohibited.

When the term of copyright protection on a work has expired. In Canada, it is 50 years after the death of the creator. When a work moves into the public domain, it may be used freely without permissions.

No, a copy is a copy.

Permission would need to be sought from the publisher unless the use is covered by fair dealing or educational exceptions or the book is in the public domain.

Both the individual and the college could be held liable for any copyright infringement. Penalties can range from a fine to jail time depending on the severity of the offence.

What is considered to be substantial is not defined in the Copyright Act. It is intentionally vague so it can be applied on a case-by-case basis. Based on previous court decisions, both the quality and quantity need to be taken into consideration, with more emphasis on the quality aspect. The entirety of the work needs to be taken into consideration. So copying a few sentences from an article may be considered insubstantial but copying a chart that summarizes the content of the work may be substantial.
Related Guides:

Fair Dealings

Fair Dealing Exceptions allow an individual to copy from copyright protected works for the purpose of education, research, private study, criticism, review, news reporting, satire or parody. The original source must be cited. The copying is limited to short excerpts.

Refer to the Fair Dealing Guidelines for Students which provides you with general information about the Canadian Copyright Act. This document also provides guiding principles for activities that you can conduct under the fair dealing requirements without infringing copyright.

Canadian Public Domain Work

The Canadian Copyright Act provides the general rule for the length of copyright protection for published works as:
the life of the author, the remainder of the calendar year in which the author dies, and a period of fifty years following the end of that calendar year. Under this life-plus-fifty rule, an author has copyright in a work they create throughout their lifetime. Their heirs or assignees enjoy copyright for a period of fifty years until the calendar year end after the author’s death.

Once copyright has expired in a work, the work is said to be in the “public domain.” The work is no longer protected by copyright and can be used freely, without obtaining permission from or compensating, the copyright owner. For example, works of Mozart and Shakespeare are in the public domain and can be copied freely (provided the works are not adaptations).

In Canada, the duration of copyright cannot be extended or renewed. Once copyright expires, moral rights also expire, and a work may be freely adapted and used without the author’s name on it. In some countries, moral rights are in perpetuity and exist even after copyright in a work expires.