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Copyright in Canada

The Copyright Act governs what is acceptable by law regarding materials. Fair Dealing is the most significant exception for educational institutions.

The fair dealing provision in the Copyright Act permits use of a copyright-protected work without permission from the copyright holder or the payment of copyright royalties. To qualify for fair dealing, two tests must be passed. If the copyright-protected work is used for educational purposes, this passes the first test. Other acceptable purposes, as stated in the Copyright Act, are research, private study, criticism, review, news reporting, and satire or parody. The second test is that the dealing must be "fair." In landmark decisions, in 2004 and 2012, the Supreme Court of Canada provided guidance as to what this test means – guidance forming the underpinnings to these guidelines. Fair dealing is not needed where no substantial part of a work is being used, the work has entered the public domain or is available with open access (OA), or a valid licence allows the use in question. In these cases, the work may generally be used without further permissions or clearances.

Communicating and reproducing, in paper or electronic form, a short excerpt from a copyright-protected work, is permitted for the purposes of research, private study, criticism, review, news reporting, education, satire or parody.

Subject to the fairness test described by the Supreme Court of Canada, a copy of a short excerpt from a copyright-protected work may be provided or communicated to each student enrolled in a class or course: as a handout, distributed in class or by email; as a posting to Virtual Campus that is password protected and restricted to students of the University as part of a course pack.

A short excerpt may include:

- approximately 10% of a copyright-protected work (including a literary work, musical score, sound recording, and an audiovisual work)

- a chapter from a book; an article from a periodical

- an entire artistic work (including a painting, print, photograph, diagram, drawing, map, chart, or plan) from a copyright-protected work containing other artistic works

- an entire newspaper article or page; an entire poem or musical score from a copyright-protected work containing other poems or musical scores; an entire entry from an encyclopedia, annotated bibliography, dictionary or similar reference work provided that, in each case, no more of the work is copied than is required in order to achieve the allowable purpose.

Copying or communicating multiple short excerpts from the same copyright-protected work, with the intention of copying or communicating a substantial portion of the entire work, is prohibited. This should not be interpreted as prohibiting the copying or communication of multiple short excerpts that, in total, do not add up to the limits outlined above.

You can upload materials into moodle provided they: are your own material; material that is out of copyright (50 years after the death of the copyright holder; an insubstantial portion of work (10% or a full chapter of a book, a complete article, a poem, see the guidelines above for more info) ; material produced by the government of Canada.

If the article is from an e-journal of an exceprt from an e-book licensed by the library, you can use this material for your course. It is recommended you use a permalink to the material to avoid any restrictions. If you would like to upload pdf's, it is usually allowed, but check with your librarian to confirm.

If the material is on a publicly accessible website, either link to the material OR copy and distribute to students as long as: the material is legitimately posted by the copyright owner, there is no clearly visible notice prohibiting it's reuse, there is no digital lock, and you give credit to the author and website.

For scanned materials NOT licensed by the library, use the fair dealing policy. This allows up to 10% of a work, or one chapter (whichever is greater), entire article, newspaper article, poem, etc. to be uploaded into Moodle.


Wording adapted from:


Finding and using materials for your course

Open Educational Resources - Find material available without copyright restrictions for teaching and learning.

Library Materials - You can link to any of our library materials in moodle. This will ensure that no copyright is violated, and that students have access to materials they will need for their courses. Keep in mind that most textbook publishers to NOT allow libraries to purchase electronic textbooks.

When you find material on the library site, copy the permalink from the record, and use that in your course as a permanent link to the resource. If you have trouble locating a permalink, contact your librarian.

Course Reserves:  Please visit this page for course reserve requests.

Digital resources: Youtube, Flickr, Vimeo, Wikipedio and MERLOT support the use of Creative Commons licenses to outline permissions on works. Social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, copyright is protected for the original content, use the share or embed features, or the link to the material. Google Images allows you to search for images that can be reused ( under the tools menu).