HomeMy Account

Copyright and Library Services

Today's Hours: 8am - 10pm - All service hours

On this page:

All universities and libraries in Canada have to comply with Canadian copyright law. In practical terms, this means that there are limits and restrictions on how university faculty, staff, students, or community members can copy and communicate materials.

The library is home to a wide range of resources. Permitted uses of these materials are determined by:

  • The terms of the Copyright Act, which contains a fair dealing exception as well as numerous educational exceptions.
  • The terms of license agreements with the publishers of e-journals, e-books, and other licensed resources, or of open licenses such as Creative Commons.
  • Terms of use on websites and web services.
  • Permissions secured from authors, publishers, and other copyright owners as required.

Permissible copying

The Copyright Act contains several provisions for reproducing 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 some limited copying of copyrighted works without needing to seek permission, for the purpose of private study, research, criticism, review, news reporting, education, parody, or satire. Copying which falls outside of the fair dealing exception and the other educational exceptions in the Copyright Act may be infringing if done without the permission of the copyright owner.  See Fair Dealing and other educational exceptions for more information

Copying, scanning and printing

You are permitted to make copies of copyright-protected works provided your copying complies with one of the following conditions:

  • The copying is allowed under an exception in Canada’s Copyright Act, such as the fair dealing exception, or one of the other educational exceptions.
  • The work being copied has a license that authorizes your copying, such as a Creative Commons license, or an e-journal or e-book license as displayed in Omni.
  • The amount being copied is an insubstantial portion of the work, for example a short quotation.
  • The work being copied is in the public domain, meaning it is no longer protected by copyright in Canada.
  • The copyright owner has given permission to copy their work. 

Copies provided by other libraries

Copies of articles or documents provided through the library's interlibrary loan, document delivery, and digitization request services are made in accordance with the Canadian Copyright Act, as well as the University's Fair Dealing Policy, and the terms of any relevant license agreements.

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 may be placed on course reserve using the Ares Course Reserve system. Course Reserve staff will obtain and pay for copyright permission for copies that exceed the limits of the Fair Dealing Policy.

Copying for instructional purposes

Under the University’s Fair Dealing Policy, 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 or by posting to a course management system such as CourseLink. 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. For more information about what can be copied for instructional purposes under fair dealing, consult our Copyright Guide for Instructors.

As an alternative to making copies, instructors may also post links to library e-journals, e-books, streaming media, and other electronic resources either directly to CourseLink or by submitting them to the Ares Course Reserve system.

Copying from e-journals, e-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, streaming media, 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 Acceptable Use of Online Resources policy. Usage terms for specific journals, e-books and databases are displayed in their respective records in Omni.

Copying from audiovisual and multimedia materials

The library houses media in physical formats (such as CDs and DVDs) and subscribes to collections of streaming media.   

Some media streaming platforms enable clips to be made from films in their collections. Music databases may also enable playlists to be created. Other types of copying from streaming media will depend on the terms of the relevant license.   

Fair dealing and other exceptions may permit copying from media in physical formats such as CDs or DVDs, as long as any technological protection measures attached to the work are not removed or circumvented in order to make the copies.  

Public performance licenses are not required when screening films or videos in a classroom setting for an educational purpose but may be required for recreational screenings such as in a club, meeting room, cafeteria, or other public setting.   

Instructors can submit requests to the Ares Course Reserve system when they wish to have analog formats such as DVDs or CDs converted to streaming files for use in courses. Permissions will be obtained as required, or in some cases, the videos can be converted using an exception in the Copyright Act.

Get assistance

If you need assistance, we can help. Contact us.

The library is committed to ensuring that members of our user community with disabilities have equal access to our services and resources and that their dignity and independence is always respected. If you encounter a barrier and/or need an alternate format, please fill out our Library Print and Multimedia Alternate-Format Request Form. Contact us if you’d like to provide feedback: lib.a11y@uoguelph.ca