What to Consider Before Copying

As instructors search for content to support classroom instruction, wherever possible serious consideration should be given to resources that are already digitally (often freely) available before deciding to copy from copyright protected sources.

Options for digital content:

  • Academic journals and monographs licensed by Leddy Library;
  • Scholarly journals and books available as Open Access;
  • Public Domain materials that have been digitized and are freely available;
  • Materials licensed under Creative Commons licenses by academic authors

For those occasions when you want to copy from sources that are protected by copyright (either print or internet sources) the following guidelines must be considered. The applicable copyright rules will be different depending on whether you are the author/owner of the copyright or if you’re using content whose copyright is owned by someone else.


If you are the author and/or copyright owner

If you are the author of an original literary, dramatic, artistic or musical work, in a fixed form, then you also are the first owner of the copyright. No one other than you can use, modify or sell your work, unless you assign or license your copyright. Copyright protection is effective without registration, and exists as soon as a work is created in a fixed medium. Although there are exceptions for works made in the course of employment, at the University of Windsor, by virtue of the collective agreement with the Windsor University Faculty Association (WUFA), all copyright vests in the original author, unless the work is specifically commissioned by the University, or otherwise stated in another agreement.


If you are the author, but have assigned copyright

Remember that even if you are the author of a work but you have formally assigned the copyright to another party (i.e. a publisher) you will need to get permission from the owner of the copyright in order to post your authored work on Blackboard Learn. If you've signed a transfer agreement with a publisher in the course of having an article, chapter or book published, you should refer to the terms of your written license agreement to determine whether you are allowed to post the work on Blackboard Learn. Important information and advice on how to retain certain rights to your published work for classroom and other uses is available at SPARC.


If you are a co-author or joint author

If you are the co-author / joint author of a work, you should obtain permission from all other co-author(s) prior to posting the work on Blackboard Learn. You should include the names of all co-authors in the material posted. Under the legal definition of joint author, each party must contribute some original expression in a distinguishable form from the other (as opposed to a mere idea), and there must be an acknowledged intent of all the parties to be held as joint authors.


If you are not the author, but own copyright

If you are not the author of the work, but have obtained full copyright ownership by a formal assignment, then you can post the work on Blackboard Learn. If you only have partial copyright ownership by assignment, you should refer to the terms of your written agreement to determine whether you are allowed to post the work on Blackboard Learn. Assignment of copyright ownership is only valid if it is in writing.


If you are not the author, and do not own copyright

In the case of scanning or photocopying from a print source or making copies from a webpage, if you are not the owner of copyright or the author of the work, then you will need to obtain permission to use the copyrighted work from the rights holder. This may include a license and a fee. (see Leddy Library Copyright Clearance Service)


Questions can be sent to: copyright@uwindsor.ca