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Copyright: Copyright Basics

This is a guide to understanding your rights and responsibilities, in relation to copyright, as a member of the Loyalist College community.

Copyright : The Basics

Copyright - Copyright in Canada is governed by the Copyright Act (R.S.C. 1985, c. C-42). The Act regulates the use and reproduction of intellectual and artistic creations. Copyright protects works from being copied, performed, or distributed without the express permission of the copyright holder. 

Copyright automatically applies to original works, such as books, videos, music, paintings, photographs, digital works, broadcasts, and performances. Copyright does not apply to facts or ideas that are not fixed (produced onto any type of media). Permission must be granted and royalties may need to be paid in order to reproduce copyrighted material. Permission must be requested for each use, unless specifically stated otherwise. 

Public Domain - Works become part of the public domain when their copyright expires or is relinquished. Currently, copyright expires 50 years after the death of the creator. Items in the public domain can be copied, distributed, adapted, and performed without the need to ask for permission or pay royalties. 

Fair Dealing - Fair Dealing is a provision in the Copyright Act that is an exception to copyright infringement. Fair Dealing allows copying for specific uses, so long as the copying is fair. Fair is not defined in the Copyright Act, but has been interpreted by the court of law. Loyalist College abides by the Association of Community Colleges of Canada's (ACCC) definition of fair amounts of copying. 

Fair Dealing

Fair dealing is a provision in the Copyright Act that permits the use of copyrighted material without the need to seek permission or pay royalty fees. Two tests must be passed in order for a work to qualify as fair dealing: 

1. Is what I am copying being used for research, private study, criticism, review, news report, education, satire, or parody?

Generally, the answer is yes if the work is being shared between faculty and students in the realm of an educational institution. A short excerpt from a copyright protected work may be provided or communicated to each student enrolled in a class or course as:

-A class handout
-A posting to a learning management site, such as Blackboard, provided that the site is password protected or otherwise restricted to students of the educational institution. 
-Part of a course pack

2. Is the amount being copied fair?

Fair is not a finite amount of copying as each situation is unique. However, Loyalist College follows the fair dealing guidelines set by the Association of Canadian Community Colleges. Copying must adhere to one of the following in order to qualify as fair dealing:

-An entire chapter from a textbook provided that it does not exceed 10 percent of the textbook
-An entire short story, play, poem, or essay from a collection, provided that it does not exceed 10 percent of the book
-An entire reproduction of an artistic work or a single musical score from a collection provided it does not exceed 10 percent of the book. 

Publicly Available Material on the Internet

Section 30.04 of the Copyright Act permits educational institutions, instructors, and students to save, download and share publicly available material as well as communicate this material to others within the education circle.

"Publicly Available" materials are those posted online by content creators and copyright owners without any technological protection measures, such as a password, encryption system or similar digital lock intended to limit access or distribution and without a clearly visible notice prohibiting education use. The notice must be clear for all users and not simply a copyright symbol. 

Please note: The Copyright Modernization Act states that educational use of works available through the internet does not apply if the the user knows or should have known that the content was not uploaded by the copyright holder. 

Always Seeking Permission

Seeking permission is always required when the work being used is:

  • Unpublished
  • Obtainable as a separate publication at a reasonable rate
  • An original artistic work
  • A printed musical score
  • A letter to the editor
  • A newsletter restricted to fee paying clients
  • If the work is being altered
  • From a website with a digital lock

Library Technician, Copyright, Reference and AV