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(Revised July 9, 2013)

Use of copyright materials at the University of Calgary is covered by both the Canadian Copyright Act and various agreements and licenses entered into by the University with copyright owners and representative organizations. In addition to this, the University has special agreements such as subscriptions to electronic journals or e-books. 

Information on this site is not meant to be legal advice but only a guide to common questions asked about copyright.

1. Introductory Information

2. Frequently Asked Questions

Back to TopI. Introductory Information:

How long does copyright last?

In Canada, the basic coverage is 50 years after the death of the creator. After that the work goes into the public domain and may be freely used. Copyright does not need to be registered nor does the work have to show a c in a circle.

What does copyright cover?

Copyright protects all works that are in fixed form – literary, artistic, dramatic and musical works as well as sound recordings, performances and communication signals – including the Internet. One may not copyright an idea only the expression of the idea.

What rights does a copyright owner have?

Copyright gives the owner the right to publish, reproduce, adapt, translate, perform in public or telecommunicate the work or to authorize any of the above.

What is fair dealing and how does it relate to copyright?

Fair dealing in an exception under the Copyright Act that allows you to use copyright material for the purpose of research, private study, criticism, review, education, parody and satire and news reporting provided that what you do with the work is fair. The Supreme Court has provided a ruling that states that one must consider the following factors:

  • The purpose of the dealing (research, private study, criticism, review, education, parody, satire and news reporting)
  • The amount of the dealing (whole work versus table or quote)
  • The character of the dealing (single copies more fair than multiples)
  • Alternatives to the dealing (Links or licenses available)
  • Nature of the work (limits how much to use through institutional policy)
  • The effect of the dealing on the original work (loss of $$$, reputation)

FAIR DEALING should not be confused with the doctrine of FAIR USE that is available in the United States. Fair use provides more educational exceptions than does the Fair Dealing clause (Section 29) in the Canadian Copyright Act. The Copyright Act does not provide a specific amount of work that can be considered to be fair dealing. One must apply the factors as above.Back to Top

Fair Dealing Checklist

2. Frequently Asked Questions

What are the rules for photocopying on campus?

  • Photocopying on campus should follow the regulations of the Copyright Act with the exceptions that are available for educational institutions as well as the Fair dealing exemption.
  • As of Sept.1, 2012, the University of Calgary no longer operates under the Access Copyright license that permitted certain types of copying. Proper permissions must be requested.
  • Fair dealing allows the making of a copy for individual research or private study, criticism, or review, education, parody and satire and news reporting. Multiple copies of handouts for class use or posting pdfs to a course management system would normally not be considered fair dealing.

If my course materials have been cleared by the Copyright Office for a previous semester, is it necessary to re-submit them if I intend to use them again?

Course materials should be reviewed each semester in which they are used. Publishers rarely grant perpetual rights, requiring that permissions be renewed if material is used in subsequent courses or semesters. Permissions are typically based on how the material will be disseminated (i.e. posted to D2L, handed out to students, or included in a print course pack) and by the number of students enrolled in the course. It is also important to note that licensing agreements for the material can change. The Copyright Office will review course materials to ensure that persistent links to library–held electronic items still work and make arrangements if any of these materials are no longer available.

How does copyright apply to producing course material?

  • A new centralized Copyright Office has been set up to assist in ensuring that all third party materials in both print and digital form are copyright compliant. Readings for course packs as well as for course management systems should be submitted to the Copyright Office where staff will review your readings and determine what clearances are required.
  • Limited incorporation of the copyright material without permission is permitted, for example: use of brief passages or a table or chart to illustrate a point, with proper citation from the original source.Back to Top
  • You can always link to the original source – linking is not copying.
  • Use licensed material from Libraries and Cultural Resources. Check what digital material is available and permitted uses at: or individual articles can be searched at:
  • As an alternative to seeking/receiving this permission, if the source material is available to you, make the source book or copy available on reserve for students to access on their own. The making of a single copy by a student for his own study would normally fall within fair dealing. (see questions above on fair dealing)

What is Ares?

Ares is a software program that will track and manage permissions for all readings required for any particular course. It will accept readings from the instructor and all will be reviewed, cleared if necessary, routed to the correct unit (Reserve, Course Pack Readings, Blackboard). It will work seamlessly with Blackboard course management system and so can become a one stop shop for all readings. Once the database is up and running and populated with readings, copyright review and clearance will be a quick and efficient way to manage all your readings. Ares is currently “under construction” and will be rolled out to faculty and staff before the end of fall term. For now, send all your readings to and they will be reviewed there and you will be notified as readings are cleared for copyright compliance.

What records are required for copying with Access Copyright?

  • As of September 1, 2012 we are not operating under the Access Copyright license. This is the case with many universities across Canada so new procedures are in place. The University of Calgary is developing its own copyright clearance procedures. Read this FAQ carefully and if you have further questions, please email
  • Access Copyright will not issue transactional licenses to opt-out universities so all permissions must be requested from original rightsholder

Why did the University of Calgary not sign the Access Copyright (AC) Model License?

  • Access Copyright requested a $26 per FTE fee annually
  • Included a broad and inaccurate definition of “copy”
  • A large reporting component required the recording of complete bibliographic information on each reading and link in both print and digital formats along with a possible intrusive audit requirement of uploaded material on digital management course sites
  • Favourable rulings from the Supreme Court of Canada and a new copyright Bill C-11 provided more legal access to materials within the educational community
  • A large amount of material used on campus is already licensed through Libraries and Cultural Resources and we did not want to pay twice.

Who pays for permissions owing to the copyright owner or other source which are requested by the Copyright Office?

The Provost has provided funding through Libraries and Cultural Resources to fund royalties payable for digital works. Print course packs through the Bookstore or Bound and Copied will have royalties added to the sale price of the course pack.Back to Top

Can I include an e-journal article in my course pack or course website?

Some e-journal subscriptions permit the copying of articles for inclusion in course packs. When possible, provide the student with a link to the article so they can access it and print off their own copy. If you would still like to include a pdf of an e-journal article, you can check with the Copyright Office or you can check for license information to see what uses are allowed by the journal you are using. If you submit all your readings to the Copyright Office, all of them will be checked at one time and information provided to you as to status of each reading.

Can I download and print an article from an e-journal for my own use?

Yes, licenses typically permit the end-user to download a copy for their own use. “Own use” does not include further distribution to others.

Can I use my own journal articles on my website and/or coursepacks?

You may as long as you own the copyright for the material. Please note that you often sign away your copyright to the publisher – this is something you can negotiate in future contracts. Check what your current contract allows you to do. It is often possible to link to material on other sites or on an institutional repository.

Can I upload Internet materials on to my course management system?

Internet materials may be posted if prior permission has been granted via license (i.e. Creative Commons or an Open Access site) If you would like to post more than a small amount of the work, you should check the site for details of terms of use. If educational use is not explicit, then you need to contact the copyright holder for permission. A better alternative to copying and posting the material is to create a hyperlink to the content.

There is an new exception in the Copyright Act which allows one to reproduce and use material found on the Internet for educational purposes as long as the copy you wish to use is a legal copy and that there is no technological protection measure nor any explicit prohibition against using the material for educational purposes. You should credit the original source.  One should always consider posting a hyperlink to the content as an alternative. 

Can I post links to on-line readings on a course management system?

Yes. When you create a link to original content, you are not making a copy so rather than re-post an item into your course management software, create a link.

Can I include charts or cartoons in my course material?

With the new amendment to the Copyright Act, Bill C-11, one is allowed to use a work within a new work and disseminate that work. Proper credit should be provided. However, there must be no commercial use of third party materials.

Can I print out my PowerPoint presentation or post it to my course management system if it contains copyright material?

Although there is an exception for educational institutions to reproduce an image to project in class, this exception does not extend to posting the material to a course management site. However, most academic uses would likely be covered by fair dealing (see information on fair dealing above). One should provide the original source when using a chart, figure, illustration, or image from another source.

Are there any other educational exceptions that I can use in my teaching?

There are some educational exemptions in Canada. They are:

  • Making a manual reproduction of a work on a dry-erase or blackboard
  • Making a copy of a work to be used to project an image in a classroom (overhead, slide or PowerPoint slide)
  • Reproducing for an examination
  • Performing in public a play, sound recording, cinematographic work or work communicated by telecommunication at the time of its communication (i.e. a live television show) Back to Top
  • Showing news or news commentary in a classroom
  • Making a copy off-air of a program FOR PREVIEW PURPOSES ONLY. This must be erased after 30 days.

What about library services that provide copies such as interlibrary loan?

The Supreme Court of Canada was very clear in the CCH Canadian Ltd. v. Law Society of Upper Canada Judgment (2004) that libraries can act on behalf of their users for fair dealing for research and private study. Any copies made would have to meet the fair dealing criteria outlined on the Copyright Office website: 

Am I allowed to publicly perform a video in class?

Bill C-11 amendments allow you to show a movie in class as long as it is a legally acquired copy. If you own a movie in your personal collection that has been legally acquired, you will be able to show it in a educational setting.

How do I get permission to “stream” a video to my class or to post material digitally to password-protected courseware?

Some streaming rights have already been obtained, For others, you usually have to contact the distributor of the film - obtaining permission can sometimes be costly. Contact for further information.

Can I access and show a website live during a presentation?

There is no copyright infringement issue here but always check the terms of use of the website you are using.

What about procedures to follow when using third party materials in a thesis?

New guidelines have been established and are posted on the copyright webpages 

I have more questions and require further assistance. Where can I go for help?

A special email has been set up to deal with all copyright questions: Someone will respond to your queries within 24 hours. 

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