Copyright Guidelines for the University of Guelph Library

All universities and libraries in Canada are required to comply with Canadian Copyright Law, and with the international copyright conventions to which Canada is signatory. In practical terms, this means that any copying of materials by University faculty, staff, or students, regardless of format, is subject to certain limits and restrictions.

The use of copyrighted works at the University of Guelph is enabled by:

  • The terms of the Canadian Copyright Act, which contains a fair dealing exception as well as numerous educational exceptions
  • Licensing agreements with the publishers of e-journals and e-Books
  • Permissions secured from authors, publishers, and other copyright owners as required

This guide provides general information on permitted copying practices at the University of Guelph. More specific guides, as well as links to additional information, are available on the Library's Copyright website.

General Guidelines

Existing copyright legislation applies to all works, whether copyright has been officially registered or not, of the following or similar genres: books and periodicals (both print and electronic), charts, computer software, diagrams, films, graphs, images, letters, maps, models, music, photographs, recordings, TV shows, videotapes, websites, and works of art. Copyright protection exists automatically for every work that is created, whether or not it is explicitly stated on the work or marked with the © symbol; protection generally remains in effect until 50 years after the death of the author or creator.

Canada's Copyright Act has been amended by the Copyright Modernization Act (Bill C-11), which became law on November 7th, 2012. The new legislation expands some existing exceptions, and introduces a number of statutory reforms of benefit to the educational community.

The Copyright Act contains several provisions for copying works without the consent of the copyright owner or the payment of royalties. These "exceptions" allow non-profit libraries, educational institutions, and individuals to make copies within reasonable limits. For example, the "fair dealing" exception permits an individual to copy, without permission, a short excerpt of a copyrighted work for the purpose of private study, research, criticism, review, news reporting, education, parody, or satire. Other exceptions in the Act permit: copying for display in the classroom, copying for tests or exams, classroom performances of works, copying for individuals with perceptual disabilities, copying of news programs for classes, and the use of publicly available internet materials. Each of these exceptions is subject to specific limitations, however. For more information, consult the Copyright Guide for Instructors (PDF - 150kb).

Copying which falls outside of the fair dealing exception, and which is not covered by other educational exceptions in the Copyright Act, may be infringing if done without the permission of the copyright owner.

A general guide to copying in an educational context has been posted at photocopying, printing, and scanning equipment in the Library and throughout campus. For more detailed information, please review the Canadian Copyright Act (PDF - 1.2mb), and the University's Fair Dealing Policy (PDF - 20kb). Instructors may also wish to consult the Copyright Guide for Instructors (PDF - 150kb) on the Library's website.

For additional assistance, contact Heather Martin, Copyright Officer, 519-824-4120 extension 54701, or send an email to fairdealing@uoguelph.ca.

Members of the University community who engage in prohibited copying could be in violation of the Copyright Act. Engaging in infringing activities may result in claims which may have serious financial implications for the University and potentially, for individuals. If you are a member of the university community and you receive notice from a copyright owner alleging infringement of copyright, immediately contact Rebecca Graham, Chief Information Officer and Chief Librarian, 519-824-4120 extension 52181, or send an email rebecca.graham@uoguelph.ca.

Copying & Printing in the Library

When using the Library's or the University's copying, scanning, and printing equipment to make copies of works which are protected by copyright, the copying must be authorized by:

  • The Copyright Act for the purpose of fair dealing or under other educational exceptions set out in that Act
  • The copyright owner or
  • In the case of e-journals and e-Books, the terms of licenses with the publishers of those works

In other words, unless prior written permission has been obtained from the copyright owner, users of copiers and printers in the Library must ensure that their copying falls within the limits outlined in the Copyright Act. To assist users with determining what materials may be copied, copy guidelines (PDF - 120kb) have been posted at photocopiers, scanners, and printers throughout the University. Also, the University's Fair Dealing Policy (PDF - 20kb) provides guidance on copying permitted under the fair dealing exception in the Act.

Copying for Document Delivery

Copies of articles or documents provided through the Library's RACER Document Delivery service are made in accordance with the Canadian Copyright Act, as well as the University's Fair Dealing Policy (PDF - 20kb).

Generally, this means an individual may request a single copy of one article from one journal issue, or more than one article provided the total number of pages does not exceed 10% of the issue. If the request exceeds these limits, and a legal copy is not commercially available, the requestor will be advised that the request cannot be filled.

The requestor must agree to a statement indicating that the materials received will be used for the purpose of research, private study, criticism, review, news reporting, education, parody, or satire and that the requestor has not previously received a copy of the article/document being requested.

Copying for Course Reserves

Copies of articles, book chapters and other materials placed on print or electronic Reserve must also comply with the Copyright Act and the University's Fair Dealing Policy (PDF - 20kb). When submitting photocopied or scanned material to be placed on Reserve, instructors are required to indicate the original source of the material, the author, the publisher, the year of publication, the exact pages copied, and in some cases, the total number of pages in the original work. E-Learning and Reserve staff will seek permission from the copyright holder for any copies placed on Reserve that exceed the limits of fair dealing. To place materials on Course Reserve, or make them available through CourseLink (Desire2Learn), submit requests through the Ares Course Reserve System, by phone 519-824-4120 extension 53621, email libres2@uoguelph.ca, or in person.

Copying for Instructional Purposes

Instructors may copy and communicate, in paper or electronic form, short excerpts of copyright-protected works, and may provide a copy to each student enrolled in a class or course, either as a class handout, as part of a course pack, or by posting to a course management system such as CourseLink (Desire2Learn).

A short excerpt is considered to be up to 10% of a copyright-protected work, one chapter from a book, or a single article from a periodical. Longer excerpts may require the permission of the copyright owner. For more information about what can be copied for instructional purposes under fair dealing, consult the Copyright Guide for Instructors (PDF - 150kb).

For information about obtaining permissions, and/or making copyrighted materials available through Courselink (Desire2Learn), contact E-Learning and Reserves staff by phone 519-824-4120 extension 53621, email libres2@uoguelph.ca , in person, or submit requests through the Ares Course Reserve System.

Copying From Electronic Journals, Electronic Books and Other Library Licensed Electronic Resources

The library contracts with a variety of vendors and publishers to provide users with thousands of electronic resources (databases, e-journals, e-Books, etc.) costing millions of dollars per year. Making copies from these resources is governed by the terms of the licenses negotiated with individual publishers and vendors. For more information about acceptable uses of the library's electronic resources, see the Library's Electronic Resource Usage policy, or send an email to fairdealing@uoguelph.ca.

Audiovisual & Multimedia Materials

Copyright protection on audiovisual and multimedia works is complex, as often more than one copyright is involved. For example, in a sound recording, copyright subsists in the musical composition, the sound recording itself, and the performance by the artist(s). In multimedia works, copyright will subsist separately in each of the different media contained within the work, eg. voice, text, video clips, performances, music, etc. Permission to copy a multimedia or audiovisual work may require obtaining permission from all of the copyright holders concerned.

For films and videos, public performance licenses are not required in order for the work to be shown in a classroom setting, but may be required for showings in a club, meeting room, cafeteria, or other public setting. For information about obtaining public performance licenses, contact the Library.