All universities and libraries in Canada are required to comply with Canadian copyright law. This means that copying and distributing materials, regardless of format, is subject to certain limits and restrictions. The law applies to everyone: faculty, staff, and students.
Almost any format you can think of is subject to copyright protection: books, journals, newspapers, performances, software, sound recordings, videos, works of art, photographs, and many other resources. Copyright also protects content found on the internet. Copyright applies automatically as soon as a work is created; no registration is required. In Canada, copyright protection for a work generally lasts for the lifetime of the author plus an additional 50 years.
Canadian copyright law protects the rights of copyright owners, but users of copyright-protected works also have rights within the law. The Copyright Act includes exceptions that allow users to copy and share works in certain circumstances, without having to seek permission or pay copyright fees. Fair dealing is the best-known and most commonly-used exception, as it is available to anyone and allows copies to be made in a wide range of circumstances. The University’s Fair Dealing Policy describes this exception in more detail.
The library is home to the University’s Copyright Officer. The role of the Copyright Officer is to provide guidance on using copyright-protected works and to promote awareness and understanding of the rights and obligations that each of us has with respect to copyright.General guidelines on permitted copyright practices in the context of library and university activities are outlined in the Copyright Guidelines.
We know copyright can be confusing. You may have questions such as:
- What kinds of works are covered by copyright?
- When can I make copies without requiring permission?
- What is fair dealing?
- Can I show a movie or documentary in the classroom?
- Can I e-mail a PDF of an e-journal article to a fellow student or faculty member at the university? How about to a colleague at another university?
- Can I use content from a YouTube video in my presentation?
We’ve answered these questions and many more in our Copyright FAQ.
Related U of G guidelines and policies
Services for faculty & instructors
- We ensure all materials placed on course reserve comply with the Copyright Act and the University’s Fair Dealing Policy and will obtain and pay for copyright permission as required.
- We can advise you on all your copyright questions for your teaching, research, and publishing
- Copyright Guide for Instructors (PDF - 150kb) - A detailed guide to making copies for instructional purposes for all formats of copyrighted works.
- CARL Copyright Open Educational Resource for University Instructors and Staff - A series of seven accessible, bilingual, self-directed modules created by the Canadian Association of Research Libraries that provide basic copyright education for university instructors and staff. Each module consists of a short video, a quiz, and accompanying text. Topics range from the basics of Canadian copyright law to how to assess fair dealing to understanding Creative Commons licenses.
- University of Alberta’s Opening Up Copyright Series - A series of videos with accompanying quizzes that take a deep dive into a wide range of copyright topics.
- Copyright Act of Canada
- Canadian Intellectual Property Office, Copyright Division
- Creative Commons