Basics

Covered here is general information, including what copyright covers, how long it lasts, how you get permission to use someone’s copyrighted material and how it works internationally.
 
1.1 What are the laws and rules relating to copyright at the University of Windsor?
 
1.2 What kinds of materials does copyright protect?
 
1.3  How do I know if something is protected by copyright?
 
1.4 What rights does a copyright owner have?
 
1.5 What is fair dealing and how does it relate to copyright?
 
1.6 Does fair dealing include teaching?
 
1.7 How long does copyright last?
 
1.8 What is meant by ‘the public domain’? How do I know if something is public domain?
 
1.9 How does copyright work internationally?
 
1.10 I’m from the United States, how is copyright different here?
 
1.11 How do I get permission to use someone else’s work?
 
1.12 What are moral rights and what do they have to do with copyright?
 
1.13 Who owns the copyright in the works I create at the University of Windsor?

1.14 Are there special rules for scanning?


1.1 What are the laws and rules relating to copyright at the University of Windsor?

The Canadian Copyright Act, several court decisions and various agreements and licences entered into by the University with copyright owners and representative organizations govern the use of copyrighted materials on campus. Copyright Law in Canada prescribes what you can and can't do with copyrighted materials. In addition, the University of Windsor has hundreds of license agreements with publishers, such as subscriptions to electronic journals, ebooks and databases, which give you additional rights to copy works covered by the agreements. To determine whether what you want to do is permissible, you should ask yourself:

Is the work in question covered by a license that the University Library has, or a public license such as a Creative Commons license? If so, is what I want to do permissible under those licenses?

If not, is what I want to do covered by an exception in the Copyright Act, either under the fair dealing exception or other exceptions?

If your proposed copying isn't permitted by a license or an exception in the Copyright Act, you'll need to get permission for from the copyright owner.

1.2 What kinds of materials does copyright protect?

Copyright protects all original literary, artistic, dramatic and musical works, computers programs, translations and compilations of works, as well as sound recordings, performances and communication signals. This encompasses a wide range of things, ranging from books, articles, posters, manuals and graphs, to CDs, DVDs, software, databases and websites.
 
1.3 How do I know if something is protected by copyright?

Copyright protection arises automatically when any one of the above types of works is created, and generally it continues for 50 years after the creator's death (and note that translations or annotations of such works are also copyrighted). When you want to use a particular work, the safest approach is to assume that the work is protected by copyright, unless there’s a clear indication to the contrary or the author has been dead for at least 50 years, and the work is not a translation or annotation of the original author’s work.
 
1.4 What rights does a copyright owner have?

Copyright is the sole and exclusive right of the copyright owner to produce, reproduce, perform, publish, adapt, translate and telecommunicate a work, and to control the circumstances in which others may do any of these things. This bundle of rights are subject to certain exceptions under the Copyright Act, which serve to balance the copyright owner’s interests with the public interest in allowing use of works for purposes such as education and research.
 
1.5 What is "fair dealing" and how does it relate to copyright?

A fundamental component of the Copyright Act is fair dealing, which allows a person to make copies of short excerpts of works without permission of the copyright owner, if its for an allowable purpose and further, whether the copying is otherwise "fair". The Supreme Court of Canada has stated that deciding whether a particular instance of copying may be considered to be “fair” requires a consideration of all of the relevant factors, including the following:

i) the purpose of the proposed copying, including whether it is for research, private study, education, satire, parody, criticism, review or news reporting;

ii) the character of the proposed copying, including whether it involves single or multiple copies, and whether the copy is destroyed after it is used for its specific intended purpose;

iii) the amount or proportion of the work which is proposed to be copied and the importance of that work;

iv) alternatives to copying the work, including whether there is a non-copyrighted equivalent available;

v) the nature of the work, including whether it is published or unpublished; and

vi) the effect of the copying on the work, including whether the copy will compete with the commercial market of the original work.

In addition, if the purpose of your copying is for criticism, review or news reporting, you must also mention the source and author of the work for it to be fair dealing.  For more guidance and additional information limits on the amount and nature of copying permitted under fair dealing in certain contexts, please review the university's Fair Dealing Policy.
 
1.6 Does fair dealing include teaching?

The fair dealing exception in the Copyright Act was expanded in November 2012 to include "education."  In 2012 the Supreme Court of Canada (the "Court") also considered copying of short excerpts by teachers for class handouts under the "research or private study" fair dealing purposes.  The Court explicitly recognized that teachers "are there to facilitate the students' research and private study", that teachers "cannot be characterized as having the completely separate purpose of 'instruction'", and that the teachers' purpose in providing copies to students is "to enable the students to have the material they need for the purpose of studying."  The Court characterized teachers as sharing a "symbiotic purpose with the student/user who is engaging in research or private study."  On this basis the Court decided that the Fair Dealing Exception allows teachers to make copies of short excerpts of copyrighted works and distribute them to students as part of classroom instruction, without a prior request from a student, subject to appropriate conditions.

1.7 How long does copyright last?

In Canada, copyright generally lasts for the lifetime of the author, plus 50 years.
 
1.8 What is meant by the 'public domain'? How do I know if something is public domain?

The term “public domain” refers to works in which the copyright has expired or where the copyright owner has made a clear declaration that they will not assert copyright in the work and that it is their intention that the work should be in the public domain.
 
For example, although copyright in Shakespeare’s plays expired long ago, many of the published editions of his plays contain added original materials (such as annotations, translations, footnotes, prefaces etc.) that are copyright protected because the authors have used skill and judgment in creating the new material.  This creates a new copyright in the additional original works, but not in the underlying text of the original work in which the copyright has expired.
 
Materials on the Internet are generally also protected by copyright, however you may be able to use them for educational purposes, subject to certain conditions (See FAQ 3.8)
 
1.9 How does copyright work internationally?

By virtue of international conventions, copyright is recognized internationally. So, generally, your copyright will be protected in other countries. But it is protected under that country’s laws so there may be some differences from the level of protection you would get in Canada. If you’re concerned about someone’s use of your work in other countries, you will need to check the particular jurisdiction’s copyright laws to confirm whether they are infringing your copyright.
 
1.10 I’m from the United States, how is copyright different here?

Copyright laws in the U.S. and Canada are different.  For example, the U.S. has a doctrine known as ‘fair use’ which is different from the Canadian ‘fair dealing’ exception. One useful comparison between the two is offered by copyright lawyer and consultant Leslie Ellen Harris at CopyrightLaws.com. If you are from the U.S. or are collaborating with a U.S. researcher, you should keep in mind that the rules which apply to the copyrighted materials that you intend to copy or create may differ depending on where you want to use them.
 
1.11 How do I get permission to use someone else’s work?

If your use of a protected work is not permitted by a license or one of the exceptions in the Copyright Act, you will need to ask for permission. The permission must come from the copyright owner so the first step is to identify who the copyright owner is and whether there is an organization that represents the owner. There are a number of copyright collectives that can give you permission (in the form of a license) on behalf of the copyright owner to use their work.

For example, if you want to use music and your use doesn't fall within any of the  exceptions in the Copyright Act, you can go to copyright collectives such as the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN), Canadian Musical Reproduction Rights Agency (CMRRA) or Re:Sound Music Licensing Company that administer copyright in music.

However, if the copyright owner is easily identifiable and locatable, it can sometimes be easier to contact them directly as many copyright owners will give permission to academic users without requiring payment. Usually you will be able to identify the owner somewhere on the work by looking for the copyright symbol ©, which should have the copyright owner’s name next to it. You’ll often find this at the beginning of a book, at the side of a photograph or at the bottom of a web page. Once you’ve located the owner, simply email or write to him/her, explaining how and why you want to use the work and requesting permission. The permission should be in writing; an email message will suffice. It is not advisable to rely on verbal permission. It’s also a good idea to keep a file record of who gave the permission, what was permitted, the date, and how to contact the person who gave the permission.

Leddy Library offers a Copyright Clearance Service that can assist in seeking and paying for permission to photocopy or scan protected materials for use in the classroom (with the exception of print coursepacks).
 
1.12 What are moral rights and what do they have to do with copyright?

Moral rights are additional legal rights held by authors of copyrighted works. They consist of the right of attribution, and the right to protect the integrity of a work and the reputation of its author. The right of attribution is the right, where reasonable in the circumstances, to be associated with the work as its author by name or under a pseudonym or the right to remain anonymous. The right of integrity is the right not to have a work (a) distorted, mutilated or otherwise modified, or (b) used in association with a product, service, cause or institution, in a way which is prejudicial to the author’s honour or reputation.  These rights are important for authors to ensure they receive appropriate recognition for their work and for prohibiting any prejudicial changes to their works.

1.13 Who owns the copyright in the works I create at the University of Windsor?

Faculty, staff and students will generally own the copyright in works they create through teaching and research, with certain exceptions that may arise due to work-for-hire arrangements or other considerations. In some cases ownership can be affected by agreements with industry sponsors or joint authors, who may have an interest in the works which they have helped to create or fund. Ultimately, ownership will depend on the facts of your situation and you should contact the Office of Research Services if you are unsure about the ownership of your work.

1.14 Are there special rules for scanning?

No, scanning a copyrighted work is subject to the same rules as photocopying a work or posting a work onto a learning management system, as you create an electronic or digital copy of the work.  If your use is not permitted by a license or one of the exceptions in the Copyright Act, you will need to ask for permission from the copyright holder.  


Text derived from Waterloo Copyright FAQ by University of Waterloo, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.5 Canada License.