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Copyright at the University of Guelph

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 at U of G including 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 other resources. Copyright also protects content found on the internet. Copyright applies 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 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 the most used exception, as it’s 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.

In addition to the Copyright Act, license agreements, and terms of use such as those found on websites also determine how materials can be copied and distributed. In some cases, terms of use may be more restrictive than what is permitted in the Copyright Act. Library materials which are subject to license restrictions generally have those restrictions posted in Omni.

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.

Do you have questions about copyright?

You may have questions like:

  • What kinds of works are covered by copyright?
  • When can I make copies without requiring permission?
  • What is fair dealing?
  • Can I use content from a YouTube video in my presentation?

We can help you find the answers to these questions and more.

Get assistance

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

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


Upcoming Workshops

We offer a variety of workshops to support your scholarship through the Open Scholarship workshop series.

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    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